Leading British university Heriot Watt recently opened a campus in Putrajaya, Malaysia, its second campus outside of Scotland after Dubai.
The most striking feature of this airy lakefront building is its curved roof which is being topped with grass. It is said to the first living grass roof of its kind in Malaysia and presumably is intended to provide insulation and reduce air-conditioning costs. It is 300m long and 30m wide and construction involves laying a waterproof membrane, installing an irrigation system and planting the right type of grass to prevent it being washed away.
It will be interesting to see how successful the roof is. In my experience, even conventional roofs in Malaysia are prone to leaking during torrential downpours, without having several tons of wet soil on the roof.
Heriot Watt is in a good location, facing the Pullman Putrajaya Hotel, where the students can splash out on a meal, and alongside Marina Putrajaya where they can enjoy water sports such as waterskiing, rowing and sailing.