ROOFS 3 -Skyline and Silhouette

ROOFS  3 -Skyline and Silhouette

Post 328 ⇒   by Gautam Shah 


Roofs are most articulated elements of a building. Roofs form the skyline of a building, visible from a distance as a silhouette during twilight hours. A roof distinguishes a building among many other roofs. Roofs are single entity form covering nearly whole of structure, like for a pyramid or Pantheon. A roof could have a single domineering form, by height, mass or surface treatment. The roof mass is bloated by adding translucent forms like a belvedere, Chhatri, Turrets, galleries, Cupola, etc. These forms of varied sizes and shapes create an undulated edge over the roof.

Gizah Pyramid -Single roof form

Parthenon Athens -Single roof entity

Array of Chhatris at Sikandra India >> by Soham Banerjee – originally posted to Flickr as Gates to the tomb in Sikandra. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – over the entrance of Akbar%27s Tomb, Sikandra.jpg #mediaviewer/File:Array_of_chhatris_over the_entrance_of_Akbar%27s_Tomb,_Sikandra.jpg

These add-on architectural elements are rarely functional entities, or are connected with the main Interior spatial character of the building. There is an attempt to articulate their scale, sequencing, proportioning, scaling, etc. Well-designed buildings executed in one era usually have such well integrated roof elements. The integration is seen in ‘picturesque’ views from all sides and corners.

West Minster UK

Roofs that are well integrated with the architectural layout of the building have a mutual affinity. One of the first such building is Hagia Sophia of Istanbul. It was the extra ordinary scale that perhaps did not allow any room for manipulation or decorative improvisations. Whatever one, perceives from outside, is the exact reflection of the interior space arrangement.

Hagia Sophia Istanbul

A similar roof related truthfulness is seen in many of the Gothic structures of an earlier era. In later periods the roofs have been loaded with many decorative elements, statuettes, etc. All Gothic roof structures rise up from their vertical elements, in one continuum.

Notre dame Paris

Roofs, have been axially-balanced compositions, and also disarrayed mass arrangements. In case of religious buildings where the attention is focused, the building and its roof follow the same system. The composition could be single, multi-axial or cross axial, yet a balance roof emerges. This is also true of Government buildings, courts and other public buildings.

Pantheon Rome

Umaid Bhavan Palace Jodhpur India


Capitol Building Washington USA

Royal Lever Building

Roofs of single form covering the entire building have been used as the structure to seen and recognized from a distance or sky. Airports, Railway stations, Stadiums, etc. have single roof mounts. Space station workshops, aircraft hangers, large industrial plants have large functional space, enforcing single roof structures.

Mario Filho Stadium or Maracanã, stadium

TWA Flight center Eero Saarinen

Palaces and temples have very large vertical surface extent, and as a result the need for a bloated roof entity is not very strong. The roof lines are though undulated in various configurations. These structures have mixed roof structures, though well arranged but not in any formal or axial manner.

Udaipur City Palace India

Laxmi Vilas Palace Vadodara (Baroda) India

Orachha Palace Madhya Pradesh India

Roofs, in many buildings are, sloped structures. Sloped roof stretch the vertical face it abuts. This characteristic has been used in many buildings. Roofs have frontal slopes or side slopes accompanied by triangular pediment on main face.

Sloped Roofs

Brussels Roof lines

Modern buildings have roofs that acutely technical facilities. Few buildings have roof top public-use facilities like a view deck. But buildings’ skylines are designed to form a distinguishing entity in a mass of urban developments. Buildings are conceived to be visible and recognizable identity, in all types of weather and lighting conditions.


Minneapolis skyline



2 thoughts on “ROOFS 3 -Skyline and Silhouette

  1. Pingback: BLOG LINKS on INTERIOR SPACES and SURFACES | Interior Design Assist

  2. Pingback: BLOGS LINKS about PERCEPTION | Interior Design Assist

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