Roofs with a view
In today’s article, we are going to discuss well-known buildings or monuments which allow visitors to access the roof. Some of the world’s tallest buildings let guests climb to the top floor and expose themselves to the heights – those with the nerve (and stamina!) to climb so high are generally rewarded with an amazing and totally unique view – and plenty of thrilling stories to tell their friends!
The Roof Gardens, Kensington
While closed at the time of writing due to a dispute between the building’s freeholder and leaseholder, the Kensington Roof Gardens is made up of three gardens (themed as Spanish, Tudor, and an English water garden) over 6,000 square feet atop what used to be the Derry and Toms department store on Kensington street, London. They took 2 years and cost £25,000 to create, and all money raised from visitors would be donated to local hospitals. With restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and an 82-year history of parties, charity events, and beautiful plantlife, the Kensington Roof Gardens are certainly a place to visit when their next owners eventually reopen them.
Sky Bar, Bangkok
If you’ve seen the Hangover II, the Sky Bar in Bangkok might be familiar to you as the setting of the scene where Paul Giamatti’s character Kingsley is introduced. The Sky Bar on the 64th storey of the State Tower is the world’s highest open-air bar and mixes its very own cocktail called the Hangovertini (containing green tea liquor, Martini Rosso, green apple juice and rosemary-infused honey). Make sure you don’t have too many of these and keep yourself well behind the fall protection post as the bar is 820 feet above ground. No matter how much you’ve had to drink, we are pretty sure that you will feel that drop!
La Grande Arche, Paris
La Grande Arche de la Défense is a monument erected on the bicentennial of the French Revolution in 1989. Its designer, Danish architect Johan Otto von Spreckelsen, described it as “a window onto the world”, where people from all different backgrounds and cultures can meet and communicate with each other (in French, presumably). It is believed that Margaret Thatcher was once locked in the Arche’s toilets during the building’s inauguration as the handle on the inside of her toilet door snapped off. The door had to be broken down by her bodyguards in order to get the Prime Minister out. The rooftop itself was renovated in 2010 after someone had an accident in the lift. While they were thankfully not injured, the roof was not opened to the public again until 2017. Nowadays the roof is accessible to all visitors and provides a beautiful view of the Paris skyline.
Machu Picchu, Peru
High in the mountains of Peru lie the ruins of the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu. The most famous landmark on this list, Machu Picchu attracts droves of visitors every year. The mystical lost city is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Filled with the ruins of old houses and temples, all of the city can be explored by those adventurous enough to climb the mountain. Because of how the city is layered, it is easily possible to climb atop each building’s roof for a higher view of the surrounding mountain range and jungles far below. The city used to be an astronomical observatory; if you are lucky enough to ever visit, look for the Intihuatana stone. The sun moves directly above it twice a year, casting no shadow over the sacred carvings.
Bosco Verticale, Milan
Translating to “vertical forest”, the Bosco Verticale is a pair of residential towers in Milan. They stand at 111 metres tall and are world-famous for each tower housing 900 trees, 5,000 shrubs, and 11,000 other plants. The towers appear to be totally covered in flora. They are fully self-sufficient, being powered by solar panels and using filtered wastewater, and convert about 44,000 pounds of carbon every year. Opened in 2014, the architects responsible for the towers’ construction plan to build similar structures in Switzerland, the Netherlands, and China. With luck, this beautiful and eco-friendly design will become far more common in the future.