Innovative roofs for a future that values the past
  1. Home
  2. What's On
  3. Innovative roofs for a future that values the past

Innovative roofs for a future that values the past

New contemporary shapes and materials in designs that respect existing structures

Innovative roofs for a future that values the past
By -

Examples of the restoration and reconstruction of a variety of roofs according to a building’s condition and type

With the passing of time, the restoration of our architectural heritage increasingly demands a range of measures that reflect each building’s condition and type. A building’s roof is the element most exposed to deterioration over time. It’s therefore the first section that requires renovation (often complete) to improve the building’s comfort, energy performance, and seismic response.

Many restoration projects involve replacing either the entire roof structure or its components. Others involve repairing the existing structure and fitting new roofing materials. Castel Dante in Rovereto is a good example of a restoration project that used a new type of roofing that was similar to the original but offered better technical performance. Architect Andrea Bonazza’s restoration of the dome of this military shrine involved fully replacing the original lead roofing with zinc-titanium zintek® sheeting on a wood battens over a ventilation space. This particular product was chosen for its durability. It was also selected since, with its matt color, it closely resembles the original lead roof, making it possible to retain the interplay of light and shade that marked the original design, with its alternating shades of limestone (the cladding), concrete (cornice), and metal (roofing). The product was applied in concentric segments, following the dome’s meridians, and double seamed. This system is well suited for roofs of many different shapes, including domes.

Built between 1885 and 1895, the Officine Grandi Riparazioni complex is among the most interesting examples of Turin’s industrial past. For its redevelopment, FOR Engineering Architecture and Bp+p Architecture&Design treated this historically important building as a kind of container for a range of new and different functions. The original walls were cleaned back and reinforced but not modified or compromised by the repurposing of the interiors. A key element of the design was its innovative and technological components, aimed at maximizing the usability of the building’s spaces. The project included the complete restructuring of the roofs using the same steel truss construction but with new roofing, with mineral fiber–insulated metal panels to minimize heat loss.

Another project that centered on enhancing the original characteristics of an industrial structure was Piuarch studio’s design for repurposing the ex-Caproni factory in Milan to create Gucci’s new headquarters. Arranged in a regular pattern on the site, the previously disused industrial buildings that make up the complex featured structural spans and exposed brickwork. They were restored and repurposed, with their original double-pitched roofs rebuilt to bring natural light inside, and create an active relationship between interior and exterior.

An even more substantial – and somewhat astonishing – project was carried out in London’s Kings Cross, an area that has undergone major urban transformation over recent years. Coal Drops Yard comprises two buildings that date from between 1850 and 1860, originally intended for unloading and storing coal, which arrived here by rail. Heatherwick Studio’s design breathed new life into the complex, which is now home to boutiques, restaurants, galleries, shops, and spaces for public events. Frener & Reifer was responsible for restoring the original buildings and connecting them with a new volume. This new suspended glazed bridge was created between the original buildings by extending their gable roofs. Rising and extending out towards each other, the roofs now meet at a point that has been dubbed the Kissing Point.

Like the other projects we’ve looked at here, the design brings tradition and technology together to enhance the charm of a vibrant urban space that’s rich in history.


FOR Engineering Architecture

Bp+p - Boffa Petrone Architettura&Design


Heatherwick Studio 

Read also
Restoration of the Shrine of Castel Dante

Keep up with the latest trends in the architecture and design world

© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054