landscape and conscience


Un jardin sur les toits is a  consulting agency  and creative studio providing original content and innovative concepts in botanical and environmental subjects, combining scientific research and  wellness improvement.
Our vocation is threefold - design combined with sustainable development and ecological initiatives.
We  practice the language of plants to give a tangible form to our desire to rethink the use of urban rooftops and hence make green buildings.
We have set ourselves the challenge to reinvent roofs without disturbing or changing the structure, by transforming them into physic gardens.
Placing medicinal plant gardens in the urban environment has emerged from our desire to restore the role of what was a priority for monks for centuries in the heart of great cities.
The knowledge of plants was amongst the most valued at the time.
The advantages of creating hanging gardens have now been established: absorption of CO2, insulation and reconstitution of the ecological network has been already and surely  confirmed.
Given our aim to pursue the experience further, we consider it is  essential to create a research station to analyse the development of plants in the urban environment on-site.
Driven by the desire to create a genuine synergy between the different participants in the sector, exchanges between researchers are programmed  and educational tools developed.
This dream, which takes shape day after day, is born from the "un jardin sur les toits" group's passion for plants and more generally for botany.  





Technical impacts

There are many  positive  technical impacts  on the realm  of extensively planted terraces and roofs,  they always seems to be positive:

Waterproof materials are  protected fromUV rays and sunlight and  have a longer life.

Indeed, the deterioration of waterproofing membranes is mainly due to heat and UV rays. They damage synthetic elastomers or the oil in elastomer bitumen which become fragile. The plant substrate block the UV rays which are responsible for 5% of the aging of waterproofing roof. It  is therefore  a protection against badweather. These effects combined prolong the life expectancy of the waterproof membrane by 30 to 50 years.

The building and  their occupants are protected against thermal shocks (cold rain on a hot roof, alternation between day/night or sun/clouds) reducing mechanic constraints which cause cracks. Thanks to thermal inertia,green roofs have a temperature variation of up to 40%, permitting significant reductions in energy costs.Roof membrane exposed to the sun can reach a temperature of 65°C,whereas the same membrane covered with plants stays at a temperature of15 to 20°C. The roof temperature impacts on the building's indoor temperature, and therefore on the need for air-conditioning. A plant-covered roof with a substrate of lightearth also reduces heat loss in winter.

Plants and substrates are some of the best acoustic insulation, as they absorb sound waves, hence reducing ambient sound levels. A 12cm thick substrate reduces sound by up to 40dB - another worthy advantage for areas where planes fly over at a low-altitude.

Impact on  landscape and environment

Carefully designed living roofs improve the aesthetic value of cities, and  particularly industrial cities. They also add value to habitations which are integrated in the environment. If they are designed with this in mind, they can also contribute to the ecological network ( biological corridors, buffer zones, biological connection zones, substitutional habitats, ecological fords, etc).

Impact on health

The positive  impact on health does not seem to have been (yet) scientifically measured , but certain indices indicate that it is indisputable. Additional vegetation on roofs produces additional oxygen for cities. The plants and substrates fix and filter many atmospheric pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide; micro, and perhaps even nano particles. Plants, in particular due to dew, retain dust and allergic pollen,and reduce the quantity of particles suspended in the air. An example of this effect is the use by different scientific programmes of moss to analyse the cartography of air pollution, given their capacity to capture and fix even heavy metals .

Social Impact 

Living or green roofs make a built-up environment more "calm", less stressful. Inhabitants and users rediscover a harmony between urban life and a natural environment.

Economic impact (costs/benefits)

With regard to financial aspects, the CSTB (Centre scientifique et technique du bâtiment), has estimated the following average cost: a garden terrace  on the surfacearea, the slope, the selected plants,and eventual necessary reinforcement of the structure, an additional cost of the waterproofness makes this solution less expensive than a tiled or slate roof.  

It is difficult to evaluate in financial terms the environmental advantages for man, as well as certain additional positive effects: for health, reduction in energy use, increase in life expectancy of the structure etc.

 The substrate and plants provide additional isolation (mainly againstheat). Temperatures under the roofs fluctuate moderately, reducing heating and cooling (air-conditioning in summer) costs for living or circulation. Living roofs also reduce certain individual and shared costs: health,water resource management, cleaning  for which the dust, due to the quantity and relative toxicity, begins to create problems for elimination and storage. Maintenance and repair costs due to flooding, pollution created by sudden rising waters caused by saturated ground, malfunction in grainwater networks, water-treatmentplants, etc. are reduced when plant life is increased on saturated surfaces.

A rooftop garden also provides anadditional living space for occupants,adding value to property for rent orsale in an urban environment. A livingrooftop terrace also adds prestige to anoffice building for the companies whohave access. Such a living outside                                      social and environmental engagement.




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Reabilitation d'un  toit terrasse et creation d'un jardin privatif.
Creation de  serres et laboratoires  


The air bubble
Located near the future station of the Grand Paris Express Nanterre La Boule (line 15 West) and carried by OGIC, the project Bubble Air aims to constitute a new entrance to the historic center of Nanterre in support of a building on the Place de la Boule, with a waterfall plant.
Designed by Brenac & Gonzales and Caractère spécial / Mathieu Poitevin Architects, Un Jardin Sur Les Toits will be in charge of developing well-being for users, as well as the development of a spirulina farm, a garden of Medicinal plants, an Aromatherapy program and, more generally, all botanical innovations.




The project to install a roof garden and more specifically a medicinal plant garden, would not be complete without the support of a research center. The aim is to analyse, in situ, the interaction and development of vegetation in the urban environment.
The role of vegetation in sustainable urban development, as well as the impact and interaction with the climate, temperatures, energy, hydrology at different levels would also be studied.
This research center would exchange with French and international researchers and university staffs specialized in botany, meteorology and entomology. Experts would also be invited to visit the urban physic garden to study the impacts on site.

Possibilities for lodging such visitors are being considered.

The study of the impact of vegetation on climate temperatures and hydrology is a new discipline.
This multi-disciplinary activity seeks to provide key notions about the role of vegetation and to give contextual results.

It is difficult to generalise results given the variability of various determining factors which are more or less wellknown.

The term "vegetation", for example, covers a wide diversity of species with different physical and physiological properties: resistance to drought and evapotranspiration, colour and albedo, density and leaf persistence, etc. Local meteorological conditions (sun, wind,and hydrology) vary significantly in the urban environment. Management also plays a major role which is complex to standardise and evaluate.

The impact of vegetation in an urban environment is no longer questioned, but adaptability remains a question which requires a great deal of research.

Ecosystemic services are fundamental to the urban environment.Major  cities must confront demanding environmental objectives which  may sometimes   seem contradictory, such as densification to limit urban spread, biodiversity maintenance, anticipating and limiting climate change, the reduction of greenhouse gases and providing a healthy and agreeable environment for the inhabitants. These issues must be taken into account at every level of urban spatial intervention and be monitored over time. Practically speaking, this requires constant interrogation about the relative roles of urban and vegetation forms. Unlike a botanical garden, our aim is not to register a maximum number of plant specimens in an encyclopedic manner. Rather, the aim is to carefully choose endemic plants or introduce exotic plants which have a great capacity for adaptation and can interact directly with our urban environment. We will specifically target medicinal plants, creating the possibility to reintroduce them and study them in an urban context. 




The choice of a physic garden was evident, given the training received by one of the collective member, who has a diploma in phytotherapy.

Through the development of a physic garden, we can also contribute to the discovery and rediscovery of medicinal plants, highlighting the didactic and educational aspects of officinal plants and the wonders that nature provide us.  Also a digital herbarium could be made available to the general public.

Integrated in an urban zone, a physic garden is part of an overall aim to reintroduce plants which are rarely or not at all present in the urban environment, despite the beneficial high potential for co2 sequestration inplants such as lemon thyme, wild chicory, as well as mallow.

Medicinal plants and their flowers contribute to pollination, which promotes the reproduction of plants and preserves bees in the urban environment. A physic or medicinal garden, also named in Latin: hortus-medicus, herbularius, erbarium-botanicum, hortus botanicus (the wider sense: botanical garden) is where plants with medicinal properties, also These often include herbs also used ascondiments, such as thyme, sage, balm and hyssop.







In the history of medicine and at least until the sixteen century, the history of aromatherapy is largely blended with  phytotherapy.
If we   find the traces of distillation extractions methods, in China and India, ( ayus-veda) back severals millennials , it is in Egypt that  their use  has  first  been proven.In ancient Greece, the writing of Dioscorides refers to the use of aromatic extracts. The Romans also used them in the form of oily ointments.
The Persian alchemist Jabir Ibn Hayman ( GEBER) was credited with  inventing the alambic and  allowing the production of the first  distillation quintessence in the  8th century A.D. Extraction processes subsequently improved with pharmacopoeias using them toward the sixteen century. it was only in the 19th century that the active principles of odoriferous molecules began to be isolated and classified, allowing their specific use.
In 1910, the chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé ( 1881-1950) who researched perfumery, burned his hands during a laboratory explosion . Very badly burned, and treated according to the means of contemporary medicine, he was rapidly affected with gas gangrene. As a last resort, removing his bandage, he applied lavender oil to his infected wounds. The results were astonishing and confirmed his intuition: the essence of lavender possessed real antiseptic and cicatrizing properties. From then on ,he devoted most of his research  to the properties of essential oils. In the 1960's Dr. Valnet ( 1920-1995) resumed the work of Gattefossé and published
in 1964 the reference book " Aromatherapy: treatment of diseases by plant essences".
Subsequently, Pierre Franchomme, with the notion of scientific chemotype, helped to improve the identification of active ingredients in the extracts used. They are both  considered the fathers of the modern scientific aromatherapy.
At the end of the 20th century, as with all pharmacognosy, scientific aromatherapy benefited from the advances in analytical methods, in particular chromatography . The  precise distinction of aromatic compounds allowed medicine to better understand their mechanism of action, and to refine their prescription.



A  Certified phytotherapist and  aromatherapist, Stefano Morana Del Medico, a founding member of a "UN JARDIN SUR LES TOITS", regularly associate the benefits of aromatic plants to most  of the agency and collective projects.
He  is deeply convinced that the active properties and the helming power that lies in the molecules of medicinal plants contribute to improve the well being of the users.
Aromatherapy implies the  use of aromatic compounds extracted from plants in the form of essentials oils for medical and healing purposes as a complementary therapy  or an  alternative medicine. this differentiates it from phytotherapy which make use  of all the elements of a plant : seeds, flowers, fruits ,roots .
Originally practiced according to a  traditional approach, as a branch of phytotherapy it  came s together along  the naturopathy disciplines and was classified as  non-conventional medicine. Increasingly studied by scientists, especially in the contest of pharmacognosy, which provides evidence for the properties os essentials oils,it can now be practiced according to the principles of evidence-based medicine by health professionals.
The term aromatherapy was used for the first time for the first time by the chemist  René Maurice Gattefossé in 1935.
It comes from the ancient  greek: aroma ( aroma)  and therapeia ( therapy).
it's clear



The  term aromatherapy covers various medicals practices using essential oils for application onto the skin , cream or lotions ( oil-in water  emulsions) for exert use. The dispersion in honey or in edible oil or simply on a sugar is usual for administration by the oral route,
in different galenic forms. Aerosols obtained by nebulization of essentials oils are more  rarely used ,but  the dispersion in the atmosphere of a room obtained by the use of specials diffusers is very widespread. Essentials oils are very concentrated hydrophobic liquids  and resins containing a volatile aroma compound from the plant.
Essentials oils are generally extracted by distillation by using steam. other process are fractional  distillation, solvent extraction, ( we avoid this solution as it is the less ecological) or supercritical CO2 extraction.
The practice and use of aromatherapy always requires  the advice of an informed and certified professional.
Some essential oils are very well tolerated pure on the skin,some others needs to be diluted  to 1/10  to  1/20 in a vegetal carrier .
The  properties of essential oils are multiples:
  • anti-infectives
  • antibacterial
  • antimycotics
  • antiparasitic
  • insects  repellent and insecticides
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antictarrhal /expectorant
  • anti-histamines
  • antispasmodic
  • analgesic
  • calming/ hypnotic
  • and anxiolytic
  • endocrine -regulating properties
  • digestive properties
  • antitoxic
  • antivenom
  • antirheumatic
  • carminative
  • cholagogue and choleretic


Stefano Morana del Medico


Pascual Jesus Diaz


Lucia Della Putta-Dallara

Technology Engineering



In France, we work on buildings certified HQE® (High Environmental Quality), H & E (Habitat & Environment), BBC effinergie (Low Consumption Building), Passivhaus and BEPOS (Positive Energy Building). At the international level, we work with BREEAM and LEED certification.

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Created in the 1990s in the United Kingdom, it is the oldest repository in terms of sustainable construction. With more than 250,000 certified buildings worldwide, BREEAM now has international visibility.

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LEED® certification, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an environmental certification for buildings initiated in the United States in the year 2000 by the US Green Building Council®. More than 100,000 LEED projects are certified or currently being certified in more than 120 countries. Each level requires a minimum of points:

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The "Grenelle Environnement 2012" thermal regulation, known as RT 2012, is a regulatory tool for new residential and tertiary buildings. It aims to improve energy consumption by setting a maximum limit.

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The WELL Building Standard (WELL) focuses on the people in the building. Over the last decade, green building standards and standard-setting organizations have made significant strides towards the market transformation of the building industry, resulting in a rapid expansion of green buildings and environmentally conscious building practices throughout the world.

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urban solutions

urban solutions
Technology and science, combined with natural resources, offer today multiple solutions to improve urban environment. Many possibilities exist to reduce pollution of air and water, to eliminate noises, odors and electromagnetic nuisances, to insure healthy food, and to offer healthy and relaxing environments (homes, hotels, offices and gyms) for living, working, and fitness activities. Our commitment is to help our customers to find the best solutions to their requirements, combining new technologies and natural sciences, and to establish new standards for a high quality of living and wellbeing.


Catalytic filters, UV treatment, Ionization and photo-catalysis are only some of the technologies which can be used to improve air quality and eliminate atmospheric pollutants, fine dust and particulates, chemicals and COVs. While technology can help to eliminate pollutants, we suggest plants and photosynthesis to provide in addition an enriched air, to re-equilibrate the amount of ideal oxygen concentration. Plants like the Epipremnum aureum or Dracena Deremensis help to eliminate Formaldeyde; Guzmania lingulata eliminates COVs; Sanseveria eliminates CO2 and produces O2 during night. BioWalls and Spirulina cultures are efficient solutions for air quality improvement.
Technologies greatly help also for water treatment. The latest generation pools and spas, instead of using aggressive chlorine, use natural salt electrolysis to purify water and to disinfect from bacteria and fungi. They also employ ultraviolet light to dechlorinate water so that the disinfected water is not irritant for skin and mucosa and not aggressive for bath suits. Used in shower microphones, red tourmaline ceramics invigorate the bath with a Spa effect, projecting far infrared waves; germanium black ceramics produces negative ions and has a cleaning action on the skin by neutralizing dirt, grease and odors, and greatly reduces the use of soap and shampoo; antibacterial white ceramics prevent the formation of pathogens in stagnant water in the shower. Hydrogenated water, according to several studies, works as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals and fighting against degenerative processes, skin ageing, wrinkles and other types of oxidative stresses. Water rich in molecular hydrogen, obtained by electrolysis, is used since more than ten years in Japan for multiple purposes like diabetes reduction, elimination of lactic acid for sportsmen and as antiaging.
 New composite materials with air traps and 3D structures are used to decrease noises; smart textiles insulate from electromagnetic fields; catalytic fabrics and nanotechnologies are used to eliminate odors, while aromas and essential oils diffusers are used to create stimulating and fortifying, or relaxing and soothing environments; essential oils offer also antibacterial properties which are already greatly used in hospitals, nurseries, veterinary clinics and pet shops.


Availability of healthy and quality food with zero impact on environment is one of our nowadays priorities. Local cultures and local food transformation automatically bring to transports reduction, less environment pollution, a simplified logistic, availability of fresher food in urban environments. Urban spaces for cultures are smallest in size but not for this less productive.
One of our specializations is to study the settlement of aromatic plants, medicinal plants and vegetable crops cultures in urban environments (city gardens, roof tops gardens, vertical gardens, underground gardens).
Hydroponics and aquaponics are soil-free methods which can be used to cultivate crops with high nutrients levels. Aquaponics combines hydroponics (soil-free crops cultivation) and aquaculture (fish culture) in a controlled environment, to create a balanced ecosystem that benefits the crops as well as the fish growth. As the fish grow, the tank becomes filled with excreta and other waste matter. Water needs to be changed frequently so that the fish can survive and flourish in clean water. The waste water from the fish tank, treated with natural bacteria, becomes a precious natural and valuable nutrient for plants.
Pea, radish, coriander, arugula, mushrooms are only examples of what could be cultivated in underground farms built in unutilized underground tunnels or bunkers. A constant temperature of 15-16°C is ideal for cultures insuring no parasites growth; a LED system can be used to light the plants. Underground farms can produce all year long fresh and tasty vegetables for local restaurants and supermarkets without pollute the environment and without occupying urban spaces.
 Creative solutions are possible!


The ancient Greeks expressed balance by the phrase "Mens sana in corpore sano" (Juvenal 90 after JC)
The well-being of the body obviously passes through 3 great axes:

- 1) The environment
- 2) The health of the body
- 3) Peace of mind
1) In order to evolve in the healthiest possible context, we exposed
the solutions we could put in place to reduce pollutios as: air, water, olfactory, sound and light.
We must not neglect bacteria that are harmful to health.
For that we made use of scientific Aromatherapy .
2) The health of the body is a delicate balance between nutrition and excercise
    We recommend, a healthy food, produced nearby in hydroponics or aquaponics Urban greenhouses.
Coupled with martial arts that incorporate a spiritual and moral dimension aimed at self-control.
Martial arts have multiple forms and can adapt to all ages and all levels. They are ideal for the overall development of each individual.
3) Peace of mind
 Therapeutic gardens also as Medicinal gardens or Zen gradens contribute by their beauty to the peace of mind.
They are favorable to meditation.
The practice of an art or a craft, are avenues worth exploring in order to find peace and balance.


  • 11 Rue de Milan, 75009 Paris, France