Roof gardens modify climate, manage rainwater, improve urban climate and - most of all - provide high-quality outdoor space. In the past, local authorities resisted them because ‘overlooking’ is un-neighbourly, but Boris Johnson has added his voice to (among others) Ken Livingstone’s and come out in support.
Our employer is a photographer and the top floor was to be his studio. The house next door also has a balcony, so the neighbours agreed to share fire escapes. Westminster City Council, though, resisted any roof form other than a traditional mansard with small windows, so we split the front and back roofs, leaving a gap between with a bridge roof terrace and huge windows to illuminate the studio. A fine steel zig-zag stair provided access without losing the light or the sense of space.