Island in the Sky: A Field Guide to Studio Gang’s Chicago Rooftop


Elizabeth Hamilton


With original illustrations and interviews with expert collaborators, Island in the Sky documents Studio Gang’s experiment to cultivate biodiversity in the city, describing the plants and animals that make up the Studio’s Chicago rooftop ecosystem.

In 2015, the Studio transformed the once-blank rooftop of our Chicago headquarters into a lush green space where nature, people, and city converge. This 5,000-square-foot functioning prairie ecosystem hosts more than seventy plant species, providing habitat and forage for insects and wildlife including three colonies of honeybees. The green roof serves as a living laboratory where the Studio is working with ecologists and other specialists to build a body of knowledge—and eventually, best practices—about how urban rooftops can become an ecological network of green spaces that cultivate much-needed biodiversity. Island in the Sky: A Field Guide to Studio Gang's Chicago Rooftop tells the story of this unique elevated green space through illustrations, descriptions, and interviews with the people who have helped bring this space to life.

Photo: Tom Harris Photography