landscape architecture

From the architect: 

Phoenix Rooftop is a green refuge in the unlikeliest of places – 30 storeys high, on an exposed, yet spectacular site in the heart of Melbourne. This garden in the sky allows two down-sizing professionals to retain the joy of outdoor living as they transition from the suburbs to the city.

"Swing open the door, climb just one flight of stairs and you are transported to a secret garden in the sky," says Brodie Norris from Lunchbox Media. 

Our clients wanted their rooftop garden to provide functional areas akin to a typical suburban garden, but in a uniquely exposed, overlooked (and lofty) site. To achieve this, the site is divided into three distinct, yet connected zones: one for standing, another for sitting, and one for outdoor eating. Raised garden beds, bedazzled with delicate mosaics and filled with fragrant and flowering plants, define each zone while acting as both balustrade and wind break, and the coloured tiles, green, white, yellow and blue, are an abstraction of the garden itself. A sculptural steel arbour dances overhead, supporting the canopy of an unwieldy creeper; shielding and protecting the garden and its occupants, responding to each zone's relative need for privacy, sunlight, and protection from the wind and rain.

Rooftop gardens are still an experimental science — particularly 30-storeys high, in one of Melbourne's most exposed sites. To our knowledge, this is the highest rooftop garden attempted in Melbourne, and is an innovative example of the ongoing and important investigation into the potential of green roofs in our cities. Visible to thousands of office-workers every day, this project is a billboard for environmental sustainability. The message reads, 'our buildings can be greener, both literally and figuratively'. To us, creating functional, beautiful and liveable rooftop gardens is an important part of social sustainability, improving on the environmental outcomes green roofs alone can provide. Green roofs should be designed to be enjoyed and experienced by people.


landscape architecture

Beyond helping to mitigate the urban heat island effect and insulating its owners’ apartment, Phoenix Rooftop achieves a number of other environmental sustainability outcomes. Raised garden beds improve air quality through absorption of carbon dioxide and release of oxygen and, in association with permeable paving (recycled river pebbles), help to absorb, slow and filter stormwater runoff. The planting encourages biodiversity in this densely urban environment, including creating a valuable habitat for birds and bees (a surprising sight to witness so high up). Recycled tallow wood and blackbutt are utilised in the material palette. Our clients are even experimenting by trying to create a productive garden - an urban farm - by tending to numerous herbs and a crop of tomatoes in the sky.

landscape architecture


  • Floor Finish: Flowstone permeable paving in colour ‘Driftwood’ from MPS Paving Systems
  • Roof and Garden Bed Drainage: Elmich ‘Versicell’ structural drainage modules from KHD
  • Stone Benchtop/Joinery Face: 20mm thick granite slab in honed finish from Attila
  • Garden Bed Tiles: Nuova Parkside/61 mosaic tiles (23x23) from Classic Ceramics
  • Dishwasher: Asko Alfresco Dishwasher (D5954)
  • BBQ: Electrolux Integrated Barbeque EQBL156ASLP
  • Heating: Tungsten Smart-Heat Electric Heater 4kW from Bromich Heating
  • Lighting: Laserlight: Ciclope wall lights from Artemide, ‘Popcorn 2’ spotlights from Laser Lighting, Goccia 2.0 uplights from Laser Lighting