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‘Largest Green Roof in the World’ Proposed for Silicon Valley Project


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Last year, Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly unveiled plans to convert an ageing shopping center in California’s Silicon Valley into a vast development featuring the world’s largest green roof.

Viñoly, the architect behind London’s controversial Walkie Talkie building and the skinny 432 Park Avenue skyscraper in New York, will work with OLIN Landscape Architects to redevelop the Vallco Shopping Mall property in Cupertino into a vast mixed-use development featuring a 30-acre (12-hectare) green roof.

If the plans are approved, the Hills at Vallco would occupy a 50-acre (20-hectare) site in the heart of Silicon Valley between Apple’s One Infinite Loop headquarters and the Norman Foster-designed Apple Campus 2.

“The Hills at Vallco features an unprecedented 30-acre community park and nature preserve, which will not only be the largest community park in Cupertino, but also the largest green roof in the world,” said a statement from Sand Hill Property Co., the developer behind the $3 billion project.

The undulating green roof—designed to buffer the residential locations from neighboring industrial sites—would be crossed by a 3.8-mile network of running/walking trails. Vineyards and orchards, an amphitheater, playgrounds, and banks of native plantings to attract local wildlife would also be designed and incorporated on the roof.

Sand Hill Property has indicated that it is aiming for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum achievement—a top green building certification—for the project. Among the green sustainability features for this development: the use of recycled water for irrigation, heating, and cooling; and rainwater collection to further reduce water consumption. The park would include plantings of native, drought-tolerant greenery that would require little water.

Up to 800 apartments, 220,000 square yards of office space, and a new shopping center containing a movie theater, bowling alley, ice-skating rink, and gym are projected for location below the green roof.

The gigantic development would encompass the existing Vallco shopping malls, which had already lost retail anchors Macy’s and Sears, while its lower level has been closed for more than a decade. Sand Hill acquired the site from four separate owners in 2015.

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