| Green Terraces

Planning Study

Partner in Charge
Mark Gilbert 

Project Team
Christian Aulinger, Mark Gilbert
Katherina Tanzberger, Michal Pulman, Joao Carolino 

Funding Authority
impulse XS/2012
Program of the Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft mbH, Wien

Landscaping: DnD Landschaftsplanung ZT KG, Wien
Structural Engineer: Dipl.-Ing. Alexander Katzkow & Partner GmbH, Wien
Consultation Microclimate: DI Paul Kandl e.U.  

TC ZT GmbH, Wien
Expressiv – Elmir Smajic e.U., Wien


Green Terraces responds to an intersecting set of problems in contemporary housing design and city planning.

On one side, population growth amplifies pressure to develop increasingly depleted urban land reserves; this process leads inexorably to denser and denser site usage. On the other hand, urban densification – also considered in conjunction with climate change – demands new strategies for ecologically practicable development. And finally, as the urban gardening movement has shown, more and more people want to enjoy the advantages of inner-city living and also have access to a privately allocated green space that they can till on their own.

As a concept for personal garden plots that are directly attached to the individual housing unit, Green Terraces can be seen as an holistic solution to these housing and development issues. Green Terraces are vertically stacked, raised-bed gardens built directly onto multi-story apartment housing. As an extension of the private apartment, which occupants can plant and garden as they wish, Green Terraces produce an envelope of intensively cultivated vegetation that improves the micro-climate of the apartment, the building, and their immediate environs. They represent an urbane, ecologically sensible and affordable alternative to the single-family house at the edge of the City.­­


Green Terraces are self-supporting constructions; all structurally relevant building components are thermally separated from the building core. The ferro-concrete structures are solid, low-maintenance, and fire-proof; they also act as highly-effective “bris-soleils” which protect interior rooms against solar-gain. 90cm high, raised-bed planters are built into the generously dimensioned, reinforced-concrete balconies. This feature is the essence of the system; the planters enable the intensive cultivation of productive gardens as well as decorative plantings.

This project, publicly subsidized by the Austrian Wirtschaftsservice, was a broad-based investigation that examined issues ranging from market demands to construction details. It was concluded that Green Terraces can be built within the economic constraints of the Viennese Subsidized Housing Program.