Flat roof

The accessible flat roof

Perched on a clifftop, Adalberto Libera's Casa Malaparte has an imposing form, its red paint finish creating an artificial addition to the topography. A tapering external staircase in a form not dissimilar to the building itself links the natural with the man-made environment. From this flat roof platform there is an all-round view over the sea and the rocky coastline of the island of Capri. The exposed nature of this site is further reinforced by the complete absence of safety barriers. The finish to the roof surface is in the same colour as the facades so that the building presents a monolithic appearance. An elegantly curving screen of white-painted concrete ensures privacy for the solarium and is the sole enclosed part of the rooftop terrace.

in the summer. In his Five Points of a New Architecture Le Corbusier regards the roof garden as a substitute for the ground area occupied by the building itself.

Fig. 25: Herzog & de Meuron: "Auf dem Wolf" locomotive depot, Basel (CH), 1995

Fig. 22: Adalberto Libera: Casa Malaparte, Capri (I), 1941

The roof garden

The Villa Savoye is raised above the ground on columns and stands in a gently sloping forest clearing near Paris. The set-back ground floor facade helps the upper floor and the sculpted rooftop structures to appear more dominant. In contrast to the main floor, which is open to its surroundings on all sides thanks to the long ribbon windows, the roof garden of the Villa Savoye is enclosed by sculpted walls and offers only partial views of its surroundings. This results in an interior space open to the sky with a charming, introverted character. Unlike the platform of the Casa Malaparte, the protected rooftop terrace here serves as an extension to the living quarters

Fig. 24: Le Corbusier: Villa Savoye, Poissy (F), 1929

Fig. 25: Herzog & de Meuron: "Auf dem Wolf" locomotive depot, Basel (CH), 1995

The apparently corporeal flat roof

The four parallel bays of the "Auf dem Wolf" locomotive depot in Basel are separated by i n situ concrete walls. Corporeal roof structures span over these concrete walls. The glass-clad lattice beams also form a monitor roof profile, which provides good illumination throughout the interior despite the excessive interior depth in some places. In architectural terms the rhythm of the translucent monitors can be interpreted as the regular positioning of sleepers, the rails being represented by the longitudinal walls, albeit with the positions reversed.

The roof as an independent large-scale edifice

Visible from Potsdamer Strasse is the ground-level section of the New National Gallery in Berlin, which is practically reduced to two architectural elements. A flat roof assembled from steel beams supported on eight columns soars over and beyond the reception area and ground-floor exhibition areas. But the other element, the set-back glass facade on all sides, is hardly noticeable. The roof spans 42 m and sails far beyond the glass walls. It comprises a two-way-spanning beam grid of 1.8 m deep H-sections which together weigh 1250 tonnes.

Fig. 26: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: New National Gallery, Berlin (D), 1967

Fig. 26: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: New National Gallery, Berlin (D), 1967

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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