Different types of roofs

November 15, 2021 | 8 Comments

I’ve been obsessed with roofs in recent weeks during the current Group Run-through of my Buildings course.

I’ve realised more and more, how important they are to most sketches of architecture (if they are visible). During last week’s Buildings Livestream I was focusing on drawing the horizontal edges of various roof forms while I was reviewing work from the classroom.

I’ve been thinking of doing a page like this for a long time but now is the perfect time to actually create it. It was a lot of fun to do and I’m sure that there are a few I missed.

Some of these roofs such as gambrel, jerkinhead, mansard and saltbox are not common in Australia. BTW jerkinhead is a term I learnt last week during the livestream (thanks Gerron).

I would also like to do some more research into Chinese roof forms and get to them better.

For the Buildings group I’ve also made a special version of this page with ‘left and right fans’ marked up. So if you are doing the Group Run-through you will know what I’m talking about. 🙂 And I’ll be sharing it this week during the livestream and in the classroom.

Finally, a few weeks ago while looking through my Architectural Dictionary I also discovered the terms for two types of roofs for spires. I’ve sketched broached spires a number of times (eg. St James church in Sydney) but a helm spire (or roof) is less common here in Sydney. Of course, I’ll be on the lookout for them now. 🙂


  • Jamie C says:

    I drive myself crazy trying to name these things! I am so glad for your pages here! Love, love this!

  • Kimberly Ester says:

    This is super helpful! I’m enjoying something that I had no clue about until now. And perfectly timed for our group run through.

  • Dorothy Hiltz says:

    I am also SO INTERESTED in roof types. I would love to show you the colour sketch I did last winter. We have, in our town, 5 homes built in a row, by the same building, with the Jerkinhead roof. Built in the 1930s. I have noted it on our town’s Facebook page to educate others….> not everyone is excited as I am about this< Wink!
    I was thrilled to see your roof sketches. Thanks!

  • Joe B says:

    Love these drawings, beautiful and really helpful for learning from, thank you!

  • Maria Regina Tuazon says:

    wow, i love these, Liz. Thank you for making this clearer than it could ever get for me. This is sooo helpful and fun 😉

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