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Campground of The Future Heads to Facility Roofs


By Naomi Millán Roofing
Yellow tent on grassy building roof surrounded by buildings.

Could your facility's roof be a prime candidate for a campground? Besides its primary use, a building's roof traditionally has served as utility space for the facility's bulky mechanicals. Many facilities recently have added more high-level functionality, and now commercial roof decks host restaurants, al fresco meeting spaces, healing gardens, and farms.

So it perhaps should come as no surprise that the outdoor recreation vehicle (RV) industry, facing boom times and not enough places to camp, is turning its attention skyward.

At the RV industry’s largest tradeshow, KOA released its concept for the campground of the future. Encompassing five different camping environments, such as coastal or forest, the project envisions ways to reimagine the company's campgrounds to interweave with their environments more and improve the amenity mix for a new generation of campers.

One novel camping environment is the urban environment, which KOA imagines as a city park with camping infrastructure. Strikingly, some of this infrastructure is on the vegetated rooftops of the low- and mid-rise buildings surrounding the so-called campground. The urban camping concept has fanciful elements, including tiered tent camping platforms on roofs, which seem to ignore the physics of wind uplift.

The concept of urban rooftop camping apparently is not novel, though it seems to be primarily an under-the-radar endeavor. With the logistics worked out, the KOA concept could provide inspiration for ways to monetize space that otherwise might be underutilized.

Naomi Millán is senior editor of Building Operating Management. 

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