Oakland Museum of California
Completed in 1969, the 24,600 square foot rooftop gardens are constructed atop the Oakland Museum of California. The reinforced concrete and glass building, situated partially below grade, was designed by architects Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo. Landscape architect Dan Kiley was commissioned to lay out the landscape along with landscape architect and horticulturalist Geraldine Knight Scott, who selected the plantings for the space.
The garden consists of three levels that descend from north to south, offering views of Lake Merritt and the surrounding city from terraces and balconies which culminate in a below-grade sunken courtyard. The roofline of the interior galleries is staggered so that the outdoor terrace for one gallery sits atop the roof of another. Terraces are connected by wide flights of concrete steps. Tiered concrete planters, densely planted with small pear, olive, and pine trees, shrubs, and vines that cascade over terrace walls, define the spaces and provide a platform for outdoor sculpture. In the sunken courtyard a rectangular swath of lawn is bisected by a diagonal pathway and edged by cedar of Lebanon, live oak, and eucalyptus trees. To the west of the lawn, a long rectangular pool is planted with water lilies and stocked with fish. Renovations to the museum and gardens were completed in 2010.