Shopping centre gets world's largest green roof


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A shopping mall in the US could provide a blueprint for the UK’s biggest shopping centres with the world’s largest green roof that will effectively turn it into a public park.

Planned green roof shopping centre in silcon valley

Photo credit: http://www.e-architect.co.uk/sanfrancisco/silicon-valley-green-roof-by-rafael-vinoly

Situated next door to the Apple headquarters, the Vallco Shopping Mall in Silicon Valley is one of many ‘dying’ shopping malls in America. Despite its prime location next to Apple, the mall is one of many American retail outlets that are struggling. With more than half of its outlets vacant, the mall is looking to reinvent itself as a public park that will attract more retailers and breathe new life into the entire locale.

The plans must be approved by the city of Cupertino, but are almost certain to go ahead as the Vallco Shopping Mall has become a blot on the landscape in this upscale area. Converting the whole shopping centre into a park first and retail centre second could be just what the area needs and will certainly entice food and coffee shops to the mall.

It’s an experiment that will have the eyes of the world upon it. There are a number of flagging retail parks in the UK and a shopping centre is one of the few permanent structures that could support an entire park, thanks to the sheer size of them. Providing a sanctuary in the inner city could also be smart business for retail centres that are increasingly under fire from online retailers, as a simple, communal space for the community can ensure steady footfall in a shopping centre.

A living roof is surprisingly lightweight, the main structure can be protected by a waterproof membrane, and a grey and unsightly concrete mass can be converted into a rooftop paradise with relatively little expense or effort. A modern green roof installation is designed for minimal maintenance and can even be the cornerstone of a PR campaign as it will help offset any major building’s carbon footprint.

A rooftop park might be a pipe dream for most of us, but shopping centres around the land can actually make it happen. That’s why there will be a lot of interest in the Silicon Valley experiment and why it can only be a matter of time before the concept comes to the UK.


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