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The Solaire

Among scientists who still claim global warming is a hoax, there is a theory. Temperatures are not rising. It's just that these days thermometers are more often located in cities. And cities, thanks to a concentration of people and buildings, are hotter than open spaces. One solution to these rising urban temperatures, says one branch of the green movement, is green roofs. Instead of layering roofs in black tarmac, which sends temperatures soaring, we should plant grass and trees. Save energy, save money, have a lovely outdoor space. And here's a great example – at the Solaire building in New York.

The Solaire, located in Battery Park City, was the first 'green' residential high-rise in the United States when it was built in 2003. Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects were responsible for the building, Balmori Associates created the roof gardens – a 19th-floor terrace and a garden on the 28th (top) floor. The gardens not only replace hot tarmac, but they also absorb toxins, solar heat and rain water, and lower the building temperature.

Plants like perennials and bamboo were chosen for their ability to withstand drought, wind and other harsh weather conditions. They don't need much maintenance either. The gardens provide a great outdoor space for the building's residents. Oh, and did we say the views are great? They overlook the Hudson River and Battery Park City. And imagine what a city of roof gardens would look like from above… RM

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