Imagine what would happen if we decided that our traditional British slate tiles or pitched roofs were in need of a shake up, and we took a break from the norm. Architects from around the world have been given the chance to come up with some new and unusual roof designs. Not all of them would work thanks to the great British weather, but we thought you’d like to hear about them.
Something which has been tried a few times in the UK is the green roof, where a flat roof is covered with turf or soil, and the owner has grown a lawn or even a vegetable patch on it.
Over in San Francisco, the University of California’s Academy of Science has a roof covered with grassy man-made hills. Students are allowed to climb the hills on their lunch breaks, and have their lunch there.
Near Barcelona, some flat roofs are being covered with solar panels. You’ll need £2m to purchase a home like that, but think of the savings on your electricity bills!
Million pound roofs
A million pound villa in France has had its roof extended over the patio area, giving its millionaire owners a sheltered terrace to eat and sunbathe on.
For £3m, you could purchase a house in the Algarve with a glass pyramid at the centre of its roof. It allows a beautiful flood of light in.
Also in Barcelona, you can visit Gaudi’s Casa Mila. While conventional roofs have boring square vents, the artist chose to re-shape his into warrior figurines which allow a flow of air into and out of the building.
In Indonesia, the Toraja people build traditional Tongkonan roofs. Standing tall on wood piles, these roofs look like something from a science fiction film, with a layered roof made of split bamboo, which is shaped into a curve.
Visible on Google Earth is a reservoir on a roof at Mina, near the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. It was put there to provide water for the 2 million pilgrims who visit every year for their holy pilgraimage, or Hajj. Unsurprisingly, this concrete shell roof is heavily reinforced, catering for its 365 metre diameter.
Just outside Rio De Janeiro, you’ll find a beach house where the roof is shaped like a flower head, with six petals coming out from a central hub. Between the petals, there are patio areas for the occupants to socialise. It’s not just for aesthetics either – it’s also a really good way to catch the sea breezes and keep cool.