From San Francisco, to Amsterdam to Tel Aviv to Cairo, and now Beirut. Rooftop gardens are growing everywhere. Fueled by a desire to suck greenhouse gases, create heat sinks, beautify the city and even grow food, rooftop gardens may be the only way to feed our planet’s 7 billion mouths.
While today many of the gardens are ornamental, like Green Studio’s massive 812 square meter garden in Beirut, rooftops are an essential platform for growing food in cities, where an estimated 70% of the world’s population lives.
GreenStudios latest installation on the Central Bank of Beirut (top two pictures above and the ones below Oliver Wehbe peeking out from his plants), is considered to be the city’s largest rooftop garden. The installation was a competition held by the UNDP Cedro project in collaboration the Central Bank of Lebanon.
GreenStudios is a landscape design and technology firm founded in 2009, in both Beirut and California by a multidisciplinary group of friends: Jamil Corbani, the CEO, Zeina Kronfol General Manager, Oliver Wehbe (pictured right in the plants!), botanist and operations manager, and Mark Abi-Hayla , Architect.
GreenStudios has created and patented a flexible hydroponic skin that lets plants live in extreme climates. It won’t dry out even if the plants don’t see water in three days. The team is working on patents in the US and Lebanon to further develop the skin.
The skin and system is hooked up to sensors that allows remote control of the system to ensure the plants are growing in optimal conditions.
Based on the images in the planning stage, and now in reality, Green Studios have created an urban oasis in a city that is growing greyer by the month. Activists have created maps to help explorers find green spots in the city. Even those are disappearing. But if GreenStudio’s plan becomes contagious there could be hundreds of more rooftops beautifying, cooling and feeding the Lebanese.
Lebanon is often portrayed or thought of as a grey Middle East country, with occasional sectarian violence. A country that is full of concrete, lacking of green. While this is tree in the cities, it is not the case outside of the cities. Lebanon is a green country, with forests and a dynamic and diverse people who are also leading food movements from creating cookbooks from local recipes, to Disco Soup events. We love Lebanon and believe that this progressive Middle East country can lead sensible ecological movements forward.