Roots in the Sky will be London’s first office building to deliver a 1.4-acre urban forest rooftop with extensive access for the local community and general public, delivering community gardens with collaborative neighbourhood uses, alongside a rooftop restaurant, pool, and terraces. Set to be one of the largest roof gardens in Europe, the 400,000 sq ft net-zero building will make a significant contribution to London’s ambitious targets for greening, biodiversity, and sustainability.
Built around the belief that making inspiring new community spaces central to commercial development is beneficial to tenants, neighbourhoods and cities alike, the radical reimagining of the former Blackfriars Crown Court will use the existing 1960s structure as the starting point to develop a next-generation low-carbon office building. A hybrid recycled steel & GGBS-concrete structure supports a roof with 1.5m planting depths and over 1,300 tonnes of soil - transforming an urban heat island into a genuinely living rooftop, whilst maintaining embodied carbon levels below 700kgCO2e/m2 and reducing operational emissions by over 41 per cent against Part L.
Exceeding the urban forest criteria set out by the UN, with canopy cover of 23 per cent provided by over 100 established trees and 10,000 plants, the building will nurture local wildlife and deliver an exceptional Urban Greening Factor of 0.45. Rainwater is recycled for irrigation via a passive water capture system, with the absorbent rooftop soil providing a natural rainwater buffer, protecting against flash flooding and reducing storm run-off by over 30 per cent.
The building not only exceeds the highest sustainability and wellbeing accreditations, including BREEAM Outstanding and WELL Platinum, but further enhances occupier and neighbourhood wellbeing with openable windows maximising access to fresh air, over 500 cycle spaces, a rooftop pool warmed via recovered waste heat, 5 zero-rent enterprise spaces for young entrepreneurs, an auditorium for public use, and much, much more.