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Green Roof Safari – we’re rolling!

on September 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm under

After months’ worth of planning and organization, this Sunday night I find myself in a green roofed hotel in Darmstadt, Germany. Tomorrow Green Roof Safari will run its first day, and I’m hoping everything unfolds as it ought. As does our small group of jet lagged participants, I’m sure!

Tomorrow, we’ll launch the itinerary with a colourful bang – Hundertwasser ‘Waldspirale’.


The Waldspirale (“Forest Spiral”) in Darmstadt is a remarkable achievement of an original Hundertwasser concept, truly representing the Austrian artist-architect-ecologist’s goal of “harmony with nature”.

A flowering meadow, interspersed with trees and shrubs, carries the visitor from ground-level slowly upwards in a horseshoe shape, eventually reaching a tower 40 m above ground.

From Darmstadt, we’ll proceed south to Pforzheim, where we’ll visit the FBB-green roof of the year (2006). The Schloessle Galerie Pforzheim is an intensive green roof atop a shopping centre, and is an island of green surrounded by densely packed houses. At 7,000 m2, the green roof includes lawn, a bamboo ring, plant caverns, a playground, an Amelanchier grove, and walkways.

From Pforzheim we’ll continue to Stuttgart – the first city in the world to   promote green roofs with financial incentives (since 1986).   We’ll spend 2 nights here.

My Green Roof Safari partner, Joerg Breuning, is originally from Stuttgart.   Joerg has been working with green roofs from apprenticeship through his own business for over 25 years. And I lived in Stuttgart for a year, on a year abroad at Uni Hohenheim. At the time (1997), I didn’t even know what green roofs were, quite happy with a summer job working in the botanical garden.

On Tuesday morning we’ll meet John Doeveling, Garden Architect for Stuttgart’s Office of Gardens, Cemetaries and Forests.   One of Doeveling’s jobs in Stuttgart is to coordinate, care and control Stuttgart’s incentive program for privately-owned green roofs.   We’ll spend the rest of the day packing in as many green roofs and views as possible!

From Stuttgart we’ll head to Freiburg and visit with Christian Lang, who was my internship supervisor back in 2002. It will be great to meet with Christian again, and check out some of the projects in the area.

I’ll try to write more when we get to Basel.. some reflections on Germany before the Swiss goodness kicks in!

Stay tuned,




2 replies to "Green Roof Safari – we’re rolling!"

  • I am currently traveling around Europe and am very interested in green architectural techniques. I am thinking of visiting Waldspirale but I’m curious how much an individual visitor can see — can I get onto the sloping green roof? There does not appear to be an official tourist site, at least not one I can find Googling in English.

    Please let me (and anyone else who might read this in the future) know if it is possible.


  • Hi Matt,

    sorry for my delayed reply; I hope I’m not too late! There are different degrees of access to Waldspirale, the most difficult of which is access onto the green.

    See if you can get into the parking garage across the street, and get to the top floor. Or if the bar/ cafe is open, you can try that.

    Since they intentionally combine residential and commercial opportunities, Hundertwasser hauses are not usually ‘accessible’ beyond the commercial entreprises.

    Let us know if you managed to see anything neat!



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