BY: LISA CUMMING
A glance across Norway’s rural landscape from a bird’s eye view won’t reveal much. But from the ground homes and farms seem to emerge from the ground wearing helmets made of grass. Think Chia Pet lookalikes but on a grander scale.
While there is a movement promoting the building of green roofs, Norway has already been at it for hundreds of years.
The longstanding tradition of grass roofs began during the time of the Vikings, when it was simply the way people built their homes. As building materials evolved, conservation efforts began in order to ensure that the grass roof was being kept alive. In 2000, the Scandinavian Green Roof Association, a non-profit, started giving out awards to the region’s best constructed roof.
Since nature is the medium, like snowflakes, no two houses are alike. Turf roofs, or torvtak in Norwegian, are an outer representation of the unique personality of the homeowner.
Some homes feature miniature forests on the roof, complete with small trees and shrubs for added environmental benefit. Other homeowners opt for a more minimal design with clean cut grass and a light dusting of ground covering flowers.