A roof garden on the 10th floor of an office block

Yesterday, the private roof garden on the top of the Blue Fin Building in Southwark was opened to let the general public wander in to have a look.

Fortunately, the sun was shining, the wind was manageable and the plants were on best behaviour. Oh, and the view looking away from the garden is just as spectacular.

City Skyscrapers

Being a 10th floor site, the plants have to cope not just with high winds at times, but also fairly shallow soil beds, and I had quite an interesting chat with one of the volunteers from the organisers, the Society of Garden Designers, who directed me to some sources for inspiration for my own even more windy 5th floor balcony.

Grassy domes

It’s a modern style garden, which either appeals or not – and I suspect the “cottage garden” lovers would hate it, but I quite liked it myself and I noted most approvingly of the slightly tokenistic vegetable patch and bee friendly flowers, and on the other side – the vineyard.

Cabernet Sauvignon vines

The one thing that freaked me though is the very thin glass wall that stops people dropping off the edge of the building. I prefer my balcony barriers to be rather more substantial, and I had a few wobbles when trying to look down over the edge.

To escape fire do not leap over railings

That said, you do get very good views of the Tate Modern’s extension works in the underground oil drums.

Looking down into the oil drums for the Tate Modern

Although I didn’t partake as I had just finished a drink elsewhere, they had lain on a supply of cold drinks to enjoy if you wanted to relax on the roof and soak in the views, and thanks to the fairly intense sun, I noticed most of the relaxing was taking place on the North side, in the shade.

In fact, I nearly burnt myself when trying to sit down on a gravel path in the sun to try and take an “arty photo” and the gravel roasted my backside in just a few seconds.

A few more photos:

Foliage alley way

The boardroom?

Looking down on a neighbouring building

Bee friendly lavenders

The whole gallery is here – but this is probably my favourite of the whole lot (shown on black background).

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4 Comments

  1. Caroline Bottomley

    An interesting insight, cheers

  2. Caroline Bottomley

    Don’t think I’d ever want to work in such a tall building though, however lovely the garden

  3. Ooh! Ooh! Finally, I visited something which I found out about myself before everyone else did! :-)

    I went here when the Blue Fin building opened over Open House weekend 2010. It was a rushed, last-minute decision, made pretty much by throwing a dart at the guide book, after I discovered that the Lloyd’s opening I had intended to go for had a queue stretching around the block.

    Considering that, I was extremely pleasantly surprised with what the building had to offer. The garden was the highlight, but there was also an extremely posh café on the top floor, as well as close-up views of some uncharacteristically good modern architecture. (IPC Magazines are the current inhabitants, not some ghastly hedge-fund-cum-pyramid-scheme of the sort which infests the architecture of the City, so that probably helped.)

    My favourite photo (bearing in mind this was pre-Shard, or at least rather more “pre” than presently) involved a tiny snail I discovered sitting on the very furthest and pointiest corner of the metal topping of the glass balcony barrier, with the buildings of the Cty behind it. I have no idea how it got there or what it thought it was doing, but it was a wonderful statement about perspective and our place in the universe and the magnitude of self and blah blah arty bollocks blah.

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