/
Close
Newsletters  | Mobile

Must See Green American Landmarks

<center>Must See Green American Landmarks</center>
Tim Griffith/Courtesy of California Academy of Sciences

The Science Center: California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Yes, the stunning new 410,000-square-foot building designed by eminent architect Renzo Piano is home to a planetarium, an aquarium, and a four-story rain forest. Yes, there are penguins and an albino alligator. And yes, the building is wonderfully energy-efficient and the walls are full of recycled materials. But the pièce de résistance is the living roof. The unique system of wire mesh gabions that hold the soil in place on the hilly, 2 1/2-acre terrain was invented by Paul Kephart and his team at the Carmel Valley–based Rana Creek Living Architecture (Kephart has been in the green-roof trade for 20 years). They orchestrated the plantings to attract wildlife: the beach strawberries to draw native birds; self-heal, a large tubular flower, to entice humming-birds and bumblebees; and stonecrop to appeal to the threatened San Bruno elfin butterfly. Kephart recently visited the roof, and nature had arrived. “It’s a field of dreams,” he says. “We built it and they came.”

Must See Green American Landmarks

Advertisement

Sign Up


Connect With Travel + Leisure
  • Travel+Leisure
  • Tablet
  • Available devices

Already a subscriber?
Get FREE ACCESS to the digital edition


Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Marketplace