Roofs are one of the most, if not the most, important aspects of a building. They protect us from the elements and help preserve a building’s structural integrity. There’s a reason that providing shelter for someone is referred to as “putting a roof over their heads.”
The world’s best roofs, however, do more than provide shelter. They push the bounds of function while adding to the form and beauty of a structure. Here are our picks for the most interesting and envelope-pushing roofs around the world.
The Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Perhaps one of the most iconic roofs on the globe, the Sydney Opera House had to make our list. The curved “shells” shape the top of this structure and make it immediately recognizable around the globe. Even if you’re not a fan of the opera, you’ll want to see this building in person. The shells are actually precast concrete, covered in Swedish tiles. The building took nearly 15 years to complete and cost about $102 million. It’s worth noting that this was almost 14 times the original budget. It just goes to show that you can’t rush – or put a price on – fine art.
Hospices – Beaune, Burgundy, France
When people think of France, they think of wine, baguettes, the Louvre, and more wine. The next time you’re in Burgundy wine tasting, take a look at the Hospices. These hospitals and health care facilities feature eye-catching roofs with patterned, colorful shingles. Though the original roofs have been replaced (many, many) times over the years, they maintain their original 15th-century aesthetic.
Thean Hou Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This temple seems like an ancient piece of architecture, but it’s only about 25 years old. It’s an homage to a goddess, whose name means “heavenly mother” in Cantonese. Styled in traditional ancient Chinese design, the temple features iconic sweeping curvature, colorful clay tiles, and lots of dragons.
Red Tiled Houses of Old Town – Dubrovnik, Croatia
This 1,300-year-old settlement is in the old center of old Dubrovnik and is immediately recognizable by its red tiled roofs. Unfortunately, Old Town came under siege by the Serbians in the early 1990s, and most of these buildings were damaged. Unlike the rest of Dubrovnik, which is surrounded by thick stone walls, Old Town was especially vulnerable to attack. The settlement has since been rebuilt, preserving its iconic red-tiled roof as a testament to its history and culture.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, Austria
The Catholic religion is known for its ornate and breathtakingly beautiful churches, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral is no exception. The mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna, St. Stephen’s dates to the 14th century. The visual focal point of this church is its roof, which is made of 230,000 colorful glazed tiles arranged in geometric patterns. Some of them form images, such as a coat of arms and a two-headed eagle. The roof of St. Stephens is so steep that it never needs cleaning – Vienna’s rainwater will do.
Olympia Park, Munich, Germany
Hosting the Olympics is an honor and a challenge. Each city that hosts the games constructs an enormous park intended to reflect the local culture and the history of the games. In 1972, Munich hosted the summer Olympic Games, and its park is one of the most famous. The roof of Olympia Park isn’t solid; it’s made of a material meant to mimic skin. It’s lightweight and breathable, but it’s also famous for another reason – you can walk to the top and zip line down!
The Kremlin, Moscow, Russia
The Kremlin may always be at the center of political attention, but it’s also notable for its stunning architecture and iconic roof. The Kremlin is a fortified complex nestled in the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River and Saint Basil’s Cathedral. It includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and the Kremlin Towers. The palace towers are immediately recognizable by their gold spires and candy-hued towers.
St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
It’s not the outside of this roof that’s famous as much as the people who created it – namely, Michelangelo, who was responsible for the dome we flock to by the millions each year. The dome-like structure is a stunning feat or architecture – especially when you consider the technological constraints of the 16th century.
The roof is more than just the shelter over your head; it’s a perfect combination of form and function. As these buildings show us, a roof can make a building famous for generations to enjoy in the years to come.
If you think the exterior of your home may be damaged, don’t hesitate to call Mr. Roof for a free estimate. We have over 50 years of experience and over 250,000 satisfied customers. Not only that, but we will give you a free estimate and a lifetime warranty, so you never have to worry.