This beautiful rooftop garden brings a touch of nature to the top of the 11-story City Hall building in downtown Chicago. Placed directly amid the noisy chaos of urban life, the functioning garden is the most famous in all of the city.
In 2001, the project’s design initiative was led by Conservation Design Forum, who saw a creative opportunity to convert the often wasted rooftop area into a ‘green roof,’ and to test how the concept might affect temperatures and improve air quality. To create the lush space, the firm used specific, Chicago-native plants selected for their ability to thrive in the windy climate. With 20,000 plants including more than 150 species, shrubs, vines, and two trees, the area provides residents and visitors with a gorgeous overhead view that sits in stunning contrast to the concrete world below.
To describe the success of the project, the website explains, “The City Hall Rooftop Garden absorbs less heat from the sun than the [original] tar roof, keeping City Hall cooler in summer and requiring less energy for air conditioning. The garden also absorbs and uses rain water. It can retain 75% of a 1 inch rainfall before there is stormwater runoff into the sewers.”