Of all the different types of roofs that have been popularized over the years, the butterfly roof would have to be one of the most interesting ones, beloved by architects all over the world. A butterfly roof is, in essence, an inverted gable roof. It has a V shape and it slopes down from opposing edges towards the middle, either symmetrical or not. It resembles a butterfly’s wings, hence the suggestive name.
One of the most notable characteristics of a butterfly roof is the fact that it allows the higher walls to feature clerestory windows, thus letting in additional sunlight without compromising privacy. You can clearly see that being emphasized in the design of this weekend retreat built by FINESPUN Architecture.
Revelations Architects used a similar strategy to bring more light into their experimental E.D.G.E. house. The acronym stands for Experimental Dwelling for a Greener Environment and the structure is minimalist, has a modern design and offers all the basic features for comfortable living while retaining a small, eco-friendly footprint.
A butterfly roof was the perfect choice for this house that Feldman Architecture designed in 2012. Their clients carefully chose the site after a two year long search, selecting it for its marvelous views. They had this vision of butterflies flying over the meadow and the architects use that image as inspiration, coming up with this beautiful design.
A butterfly roof also turned out to be the ideal choice for this small retreat in Raleigh, US. The structure was designed and built by architect Frank Harmon and sits on a steep slope, surrounding by oak trees. The client wanted to be in touch with nature and to live in a space which lacks unnecessary ornamentation. The butterfly roof allows the design to be simple while at the same time giving it a modern edge.
There are all sorts of variations when it comes to butterfly roofs. Some, like this one, have only very slightly sloping edges. This is a house designed by Fougeron Architecture. It’s located in Big Sur, US and it runs parallel to a canyon, offering gorgeous views. The roof appears to be floating, sitting above a row of clerestory windows and being connected to them with very thin rods.
This weekend house sits within a forest clearing on a mountain located in Tapalpa, Mexico. It has a series of zig-zag terraces carved into the hillside and a butterfly roof which allows it to open up on both ends, for more dramatic views. This was a project by Elías Rizo Arquitectos.
When studio Paz Arquitectura was asked to design a modern extension for a small house in Guatemala built back 1965, they chose to give the new structure a roof with the same angle as the original hut but reversed. In other words, the old structure has a classic gabled roof and the addition has a butterfly roof.
In Saubion, France there’s a beautiful cluster of wooden villas built around the edges of a lake. They’re small and modern, they sit on stilts and they each have a butterfly roof. When the lights are on at night, the villas look like lanterns and the light is reflected into the water creating a beautiful effect. The structures have been designed by Patrick Arotcharen Architecte and serve as private holiday homes.