Vaulted Viga Roof

One design we have been playing with is a vaulted viga roof that uses parapets on the two sides and eaves on the ends. It is our version of a low-tech organic substitute for a singlewide mobile home. Its long, narrow shape provides short spans, while interior intersecting walls and external buttressing add stability and charm (Fig. 9.16 & 9.29 on page 121).

9.17 (above): Vigas set parallel to each other with latillas set in an alternating diagonal pattern.

9.18 (below): A great example of the earthbag kiva is Penny Pennell!s 36-foot (10.8 m) diameter home that uses a 6-sided post and beam interior support structure for the 20-foot (6 m) long vigas to rest on. (Credit: Penny Pennell)

9.16: Stylized vaulted viga with living roof.

In a dry, moderate climate, the roof can be insulated from the outside with a topcoat of straw bales, or seeded into a living roof in a wet climate (see Figure 9.30 for a detail of a straw-bale-insulated vaulted viga roof). The vaulted viga roof is left exposed on the interior. Sheathe the top of the logs with long flexible boards, latillas (short, sturdy poles), or dismantled pallets (Fig. 9.17)

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