Abiotic x Biotic Roof Garden

Collaborators: Long See, Naim Choudhury, Yiru Xu, Voon Hui Chau

Students From: MA Architecture/ BA Architecture / BA Landscape Architecture

Year: 2020

Coordinator: Eccles Ng

Project Partner: Marshalls

About this project

Our Co-lab project is a collaboration with Marshalls company to design a roof garden at Marshalls Design Space in Birmingham. The overall aim of this project is to create a proposal for the site that can engage people from different background in this inspirational work space and at the same time as an opportunity to show case and display Marshalls’s products.

In our group, we are formed by students from different courses, including Master Architecture, Year 2 Architecture and Year 2 Landscape Architecture.


Week 29/1, 5/2 &12/02

At the beginning, we are introduced by our client, Mark Toole from Marshalls about their company. We get to know what our client is expecting for the roof garden. In this stage more discussions were made before heading in to design process. We had also explored and did more research on their products to enable us a better understanding of their company.

Every week we meet up at the design space to discuss and produce more ideas together. We started with writing down key words on post-it note and paste them on wall together to share with everyone . This activity let us learn from other people perspectives. It was really interesting to see that students from different courses can have different approach to this project.

In small group, we worked together as a team to come out with a proposal for our client. Communications between team members are really important to make work progress efficiently. In this case, our group agreed to generate ideas individually before next meet up.

Week 19/02 & 26/02

During this weeks, we had manufacturer who came in to introduce us some interesting roof system that they supply. They offer different options of green roof installation. The Polypipe Blue-Green roof system are able to capture, retreat and source water. Whereas Bauder Green Roof system provide wide range of intensive green roof solution that can combine several element to create a bespoke green roof.

Polypipe Blue-Green roof system

Week 04/03

We had our interim review this week to present our current proposal to our client and tutors. We presented them our design of the spatial arrangement on the roof and some basic 3D model to show our ideas. In this stage, most of the design were just in sketches or research on materials with options and informations. From the feedback, we were suggested to produce a stronger proposal with enough visualisation so they can explain more of the design. We also need to explore further on the balance between hard and soft landscape.

Mark is very open with his own view, providing us lot of useful opinions and suggestion. We were really encouraged by getting a positive feedback on our current design. However, we still need to develop more on the key design of displaying their products. We also discussed that we need to do more research on the materials used in order to create the best image of Marshalls.

Week 11/03, 18/03 & 25/03

We had another collaboration with student from  Faculty of Computer, Engineering and Built Environment [CEBE] to intergrate a type of sensor proposal into our current proposals. By collaborating with them let us gained more opportunities to enhance with the outcome of the design. They showed us what they can do with a sensor that can monitor the sunlight.

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, weekly meet up in Marshalls design space have to cancel but we continue to develop our design individually at home. The challenges of working separately become more intense but we managed to discuss our progress on Whatsapp and share our work with Onedrive. At the same time, we had our meeting with client virtually on Webex.

Through looking at other works progress that have done by some other groups, we tried to learn from their advantages to improve our own proposal. One of the group have a very cool VR model to show client the overall feeling of the design in real-life. As the project is coming to towards the end, everyone were working hard to finalize the final proposal.


Written by: Voon Hui Chau

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