Five Unusual Roof Designs

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Most of us don’t think much about the roof we live under until there’s a problem. Your home’s roof is its first and biggest line of defense against the elements; it keeps you and your belongings clean, dry and safe. Most roofs have a utilitarian design, but they can be unusual or even outrageous. The examples on this list show that a balance can be struck between function and form.
  1. The Leaf Roof: Just outside Rio on a pristine beach with beautiful blue water there’s a house with a flower-shaped roof that protects the house underneath like a broad banana leaf. The open-air dwelling, designed by the team of Mareines and Patalano, is meant to foster the connection between its occupants and the great outdoors. The home has no hallways and the spaces between rooms are open, so this tropical getaway is a great place to throw a party. The home’s layout fully utilizes the incoming sea wind, providing great natural cooling.
  2. La Pedrera: Most of Barcelona’s roofs are flat, industrial and plain, decorated only with brick chimneys and aluminum air intakes. Gaudi decided to do something different with the roof of Casa Mila, his personal home. He found some alternatives to lead flashing, turning the chimneys and vents into guards which would keep eternal watch over the building’s occupants. 
  3. The wavy roof is adorned with the abovementioned warriors, but it’s also decorated with mosaics and sculptures.
  4. The Mina Water Reservoir: Google Earth picks up some beautiful and strange objects, but one of the first was the roof of the water reservoir at Mina (near Makkah in Saudi Arabia). The reservoir provides water to over two million pilgrims who gather during the annual Hajj, and it’s covered by the 365-meter reinforced concrete roof. The roof is unique because it’s one of the largest reinforced shell roofs in the entire world.
  5.  Tongkonan houses: The Tongkonan are the ancestral homes of the Torajan, an indigenous tribe in Indonesia. Standing on high wooden pilings, they’re topped with a split bamboo layered roof that has an arcing shape. The exteriors of these roofs are decorated with yellow, black and red wood carvings. The name, Tongkonan, is derived from the Torajan word “tongkon”, or “to sit”.
  6. The House of the Five Senses: It’s the building at the entrance to the Efteling Theme Park, one of the world’s oldest and the largest of its kind in the Netherlands. The roof deserves a place on this list not only for its design, but because it’s the world’s biggest thatch roof.
Five Unusual Roof Designs

Roofs may be there for a purpose, but they don’t have to look boring. A wide variety of man-made and natural materials can be used to create a building’s roof, and they can be made in almost any shape imaginable. From a simple flat roof with felt shingles to the spire at the top of New York City’s Empire State Building, the architecture of roofs can be very interesting indeed.

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Amy Fowler
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This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Ashbrook Roofing, suppliers of felt shingles and various alternatives to lead flashing for your home. Click here to find out more about their alternatives to lead flashing or felt shingles.

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