in Architecture

Design proposal for a roof top garden


Ford & Associates Architects | Columbus, Ohio

The client for this project is constructing a new mixed use, luxury co-op building. They expressed interest in the possibility of creating a roof garden and asked for a design solution. The criteria were a space for a formal dining table, a cooking and prep station, an area for viewing football games on a big screen TV, a fire pit, ample storage, and space to entertain guests.

planbOne of the challenges of this project was to design a space to house all the activities within a limited footprint. The garden takes up less than 20% of the available space on the roof. Another problem was the need to screen nearby mechanical units both visually and due to noise. Finally, nothing built on the roof could extend beyond the height of the stair enclosure.



I designed a series of outdoor rooms organized by planter boxes. The shrubs, ferns, trees, and ornamental grasses would screen the mechanical units from view and help muffle sound (both from the HVAC system and the city noise below). A cedar wall also helps reflect the noise at the cooking station which is closest to the mechanical units.


Starting with the dining area, the focal point is a large rustic farm table to seat up to 10. Built in cedar-topped benches surrounding the perimeter of the dining area provide extra lounge seating for guests and storage for cushions underneath. This space is great for casual conversation and drinks with a beautiful skyline view.


Large comfortable outdoor furniture to was used to define a “living room” space; anchored by a modern-style gas powered fire pit. The big screen TV is tucked into a large built-in which provides even more storage options as well as framing in the access stair. With this configuration, no space was wasted.


Finally, a wrap around outdoor kitchen let’s you barbeque without missing a moment of action on the TV. It also features a small sink, mini fridge, cabinet space, and handy access to the trash chute.


Our client was really pleased with what we came up with. The final design is open but also has plenty of cozy nooks. We were able to pack a lot of program into an organized plan that feels bigger than it actually is.


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