In Honor of World Architecture Day: Renzo Piano’s Living Roof at the California Academy of Science

Self was climbing up the walls after a whole year of pandemic lockdown. California Governor Gavin Newsom lifted the lockdown order in March 2021. The following month, self was taking road trips galore (so were her neighbors: 96-year-old Mrs. C went on a road trip to Seattle! Self remembers standing on the sidewalk and waving good-bye as Mrs. C and her sons and daughters drove off in a huge Cadillac!).

In April 2021, self signed up for a tour of the California Academy of Sciences. The tour was led by an in-house naturalist, everyone was still wearing masks, but oh, what joy to be out in the company of others!

It was self’s first time on the living roof. The naturalist explained that what held the roof together were coconut husks (like the ones we use to scrub our floor in the Philippines!). Six inches of soil were deposited on the roof, and then the naturalists left the roof alone to see what grew there.

The California Academy of Sciences runs entirely on solar energy. The round shapes on the roof are solar panels. It’s wild seeing the ferris wheel pop up across a meadow. Highly recommend this tour, if anyone is thinking of going.

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