Up On The Roof: New York's Hidden Skyline Spaces

Up On The Roof: New York’s Hidden Skyline Spaces

Up On The Roof: New York’s Hidden Skyline Spaces

Brooklyn Grange – one of the (if not THE) world’s largest rooftop garden

Earlier this year, I featured NYC rooftops and terraces from Gunn Landscape Architecture and Vert Gardens here. A recent post by Curbed NY featured a great rooftop renovation that features a view from an East Village outdoor shower to the Empire State Building.

I’m fascinated by the varied uses of the city’s rooftop spaces.  From expensive landscapes of flora, furnishings and swimming pools to a simple setup for sunbathing, the desire is strong to inhabit these exclusive spaces whenever possible.

I recently came across a great compendium of the city’s rooftop spaces in a visual log composed by architect, pilot, and photographer Alex MacLean (affiliate link here) titled Up On The Roof: New York’s Hidden Skyline Spaces.   In it, MacLean documents hundreds of  the city’s rooftop spaces and its varied uses.  A surprising statistic found in this book is that over 1/3 of the City’s permeable surface is rooftop.

Imagine the potential to leverage these spaces into farms or for capturing solar energy! You can even keep the outdoor shower and still be “green” by using this sustainable shower system conceived by Jun Yasomoto. How would you use your rooftop?

The Phyto Purification Bathroom by Jun Yasomoto







Up On The Roof: New  York’s Hidden Skyline Spaces by Alex MacLean

Princeton Architectural Press, 2012

Book Description (from Amazon.com):

Pilot and photographer Alex MacLean has flown his plane over large areas of the United States, documenting the landscape from beautiful agricultural patterns to geometric city grids. In his new book, he directs his lens at the rooftops of New York City, showing the great complexity and life of the roofs of New York’s buildings. Depicting not only the city’s famous water towers, but pools, tennis courts, gardens, sunbathers, art, and restaurants up in the air, MacLean’s powerful images give readers a glimpse of a part of the city that usually remains hidden. His photographs leave little doubt about New York City’s “green” potential and the belief that improved outdoor spaces above lead to more livable cities below. Maps and captions help the reader to easily locate the photographs, and an essay by Robert Campbell puts MacLean’s work into context. Whether you are new to the city native born, this fascinating look at hidden New York will be a revelation.