Revolutionizing Urban Living: Roofscapes Transforms Parisian Rooftops Into Green Havens

Roofscapes, a startup founded by three MIT students, is planning to build greenspaces on pitched roofs in Paris to decrease temperatures, improve quality of life, and boost climate resilience. Pictured is a rendering of an ongoing pilot project over a former district hall. Credit: Roofscapes Studio

Roofscapes, a startup founded by three MIT students, is planning to build green spaces on pitched roofs in Paris, to decrease temperatures while improving quality of life.

Roofscapes, a startup founded by three MIT master of architecture students, aims to transform the pitched roofs of Paris into accessible green spaces using timber structures. The green roofs could provide various benefits, such as local food production, biodiversity support, building temperature reduction, air quality improvement, water retention, and a new escape for residents from urban density. The company has received a grant from the City of Paris for its first project on a former town hall building’s roof. Roofscapes intends to test the project’s impact on building temperature, humidity levels, and biodiversity before expanding further with prefabricated structures.

When the historic cities of Europe were built hundreds of years ago, there were open green spaces all around them. But today’s city centers can be a 30-minute drive or more to the vast open greenery that earlier Europeans took for granted.

That’s what the startup Roofscapes is trying to change. The company, founded by three students from MIT’s master of architecture program, is using timber structures to turn the ubiquitous pitched roofs of Paris into accessible green spaces.

The spaces would provide a way to grow local food, anchor biodiversity, reduce the temperatures of buildings, improve air quality, increase water retention, and give residents a new way to escape the dense urban clusters of modern times.

Roofscapes’ contribution to the 2021 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. Credit: Roofscapes Studio

“We see this as a way to unlock the possibilities of these buildings,” says Eytan Levi MA ’21, SM ’21, who co-founded the company with Olivier Faber MA ’23 and Tim Cousin MA ’23. “These surfaces weren’t being used otherwise but could actually have a highly …


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