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On June 3rd, the Reusing Rooftops Barcelona 2024 event took place as part of the Barcelona Architecture Weeks. Co-organized by the Mies van der Rohe Foundation, this event is part of a broader initiative that includes an international ideas competition set to conclude on June 26th. Held at the Victoria Eugenia Palace, the event brought together professionals from the fields of architecture and urban sustainability, and concluded with a networking session at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion.

The day began with two prominent presentations by Agustín Pérez-Torres, partner at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), and Joan Batlle, partner at Batlleiroig. Both speakers shared insights and experiences from their respective firms regarding rooftop interventions and projects.

Following these presentations, a roundtable discussion gathered all stakeholders involved in the reuse of rooftops. The architects were represented by the speakers, while the industry perspective was provided by Raúl Álvarez (Soprema Iberia), Julia Gómez (Sika), and Elisabeth Contreras (ASESCUVE). The public sector was represented by Montserrat Prado from the Urban Landscape Institute of the Barcelona City Council. Attendees also had the opportunity to participate, representing the voice of the citizens.

This diverse array of perspectives allowed for a comprehensive discussion on key topics related to the utilization and reuse of rooftops. These included their role in future cities, public administration initiatives to promote their use, efficient water management, weight limitations, and the need to simplify installation and maintenance for widespread implementation in our urban environment.

We hope this event marks the beginning of a continuous and fruitful dialogue, making the utilization and reuse of rooftops a distinctive feature of sustainable cities in the future.

Insights from Batlleiroig and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

Joan Batlle of Batlleiroig emphasized the importance of integrating nature into urban environments through eco-effective architecture. His presentation highlighted various projects that demonstrate how rooftops can be transformed into green, productive spaces that enhance biodiversity and improve urban sustainability. Examples included the restoration of the Garraf Controlled Landfill into a natural park and the creation of biophilic spaces in urban settings, showcasing how thoughtful design can lead to substantial environmental and social benefits.

Agustín Pérez-Torres from BIG focused on the iconic CopenHill project in Copenhagen. CopenHill, a waste-to-energy plant topped with a ski slope, hiking trail, and green rooftop, serves as a prime example of multifunctional rooftop use. Pérez-Torres discussed how CopenHill not only contributes to Copenhagen’s waste management and energy production but also provides recreational space for residents and visitors. This project underscores the potential of rooftops to serve multiple purposes, fostering a sustainable and vibrant urban life.

The Round Table: Incentives and Innovations for Green Roofs

The round table provided an invaluable platform for discussing the practical aspects and potential incentives for implementing green roofs. The public administration highlighted possible incentives, including financial subsidies, to encourage the adoption of green roofs. We delved into the successful case of Singapore, where the government promotes urban greening with up to a 50% subsidy for green rooftops to mitigate city heat. Industry representatives also contributed significantly to the discussion. Raúl Álvarez from Soprema introduced innovative products like Skywater, which focuses on phytodepuration of greywater, offering a sustainable method to treat and reuse water. Julia Gómez from Sika discussed cutting-edge products that notify the Building Management System (BMS) immediately when a water leak occurs, preventing damage before it becomes visible. All of the participants emphasized the critical role of maintenance and the need for economic incentives to make green roofs a viable option for property owners. This multi-faceted discussion underscored the collaborative effort required to integrate green rooftops into urban planning successfully.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to our partner in this initiative: the Mies van der Rohe Foundation, our main sponsors Soprema Iberia and Sika España, and our collaborators Sempergreen, ASESCUVE, Zinco Cubiertas, BIG, Batlleiroig, MVRDV, and Porras Guadiana Arquitectos. Their invaluable support and collaboration made Reusing Rooftops Barcelona 2024 a resounding success.

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