Houses built on a shopping mall roof give residents a yard in the middle of the city

In Zhuzhou, Hunan's second-largest city, a developer has come up with an innovative way to let some people enjoy the yard and isolation of a freestanding house in the middle of a quickly growing city. These four villas sit on the roof of a five-story shopping mall, enjoying both airy views of the city and the mall's green rooftop.

Photo from China Daily.

Zhuzhou Jiutian Real Estate constructed these buildings as it built the new mall. Although they look like cottages and have been outfitted with electricity and plumbing, the villas will be inhabited for commercial, rather than residential uses; they'll serve as offices for the mall employees. Still, by virtue of their design, the suggest future of urban planning where houses and yards might sit on top of low-altitude structures, bringing a little bit of suburbia to the heart of the city.

The roof's garden also reflects a growing trend in many of China's cities. Last year, Beijing passed a law requiring buildings that have fewer than 12 floors, are shorter than 45 meter,s and were built within the last 20 years to house live vegetation on their rooftops, and other cities are following Beijing's lead. If the buildings don't stretch to the skies, their roofs better hold something more useful and interesting than a coat of pigeon droppings.

Rooftop villas are legal, officials say [China Daily via Dark Roasted Blend]