Raise the Roof +

Think Brick invited Marc&Co to enter the inaugural Raise the Roof 2013.

The ‘new’ suburb is more compact than established older suburbs. Smaller sites and increased density provide opportunities for communal stormwater harvesting, solar energy generation and common greens. There is also the opportunity for the roof to be clear of services and free for expression.

Once, the roof tile was draped over the most prestigious houses. It represented affluence and grandeur.

The chosen site is within a typical street in a ‘new’ suburb. In the suburbs the repetition of houses within a garden setting is the iconic gesture.  Prominence is found with the iconic nature of multiplicity.

The ‘new’ suburb offers interesting opportunities to research contemporary design ideas for the roof tile. This research is based on our interest in ‘making’. Materiality, production and installation of the common roof tile reveal opportunities for new expression and an antithesis.

Roof tile production is heavily reliant on the conveyor system. With factories are under financial pressure, we propose a new ‘chevron’ tile range produced within existing conveyor systems. The ‘chevron’ tile has its own mold and requires an additional hole to be punched for an LED light and diagonal strip to be imprinted.

This new cavity houses as small RGB LED light, controlled via the owners tablet. Christmas nativity scenes are now programmed from the living room. Selected suburbs can turn pink to support breast cancer, or maroon after another Queensland state of origin victory. City councils may sponsor the LED installation in support of city branding.

The floor plan is a variation on the linear plan. Grouped services allow the plan to be rotated and flipped for optimal orientation.

Recent suburban housing has selectively promoted the wall and parapet as being contemporary. The antithesis proposes a facade with no wall, a facade of only roof and fence. A large entry portal contrasts and highlights the woven roof tile pattern.

In Queensland, tile manufactures not only supply the tile, but also install the tile and roof batten. Junction details of zinc alum often do not promote the quality of the roof tile.

An opportunity arises to promote ‘making’ by expressing the framing and underside of tile. The soffit is clearly exposed by the roof shape. Complex roof shapes, with multiple valleys and ridges are replaced with a folded skillion. Fascias and gutters are deleted with roof battens and tiles both exposed and celebrated.

The laced edge makes the roof appear lightweight, in contrast to the inherent weight and sturdiness of the roof tile. The ambiguity of heavy and light on a large overhanging roof remind one of the grand subtropical houses designed by Dods.

Folding roof tiles into external and internal walls further valorises the ambiguity of light/heavy and solid/transparent. The entry path continues to become the floor surface and the internal hall is lined with a highly textured shingle. Walking past a tile at eye level everyday provides a new appreciation of the inherent qualities of the tile.

The ‘chevron’ roof tile avoids current comparisons to metal roof sheeting and instead promotes the roof tile as a beautiful object, with texture, patterns, and opportunities to expression of construction.