Roofs are one of the primary components of a building envelope and are understood as the uppermost part of a building that gives protection from the environment, climate, and animals. Roofs are often designed uniquely for each region and building typology based on architectural traditions responding to specific materials, styles, and functions. Roofs generally function in two parts: a supporting structure and an outer skin for weatherproofing.
Interior clearances for roof slopes provide guides for designing functional human spaces under the challenging constraints of angled roof planes. With various angles ranging from low slopes of 20° to extremely steep pitches of 50°, roof slopes restrict the amount of usable space based on comfortable heights of standing people. It is advised that ceiling heights be designed at a minimum of 7’6” | 230 cm with minimal human clearances set at 5’ 11” | 180 cm. To provide for more functional space around the perimeter of a sloped roof, starting heights of 3’-5’3” | 90-160 cm should be provided at the base of the slope to accommodate a range of diverse functions and furniture options such as chairs, desks, low beds, and storage.
Roof shapes are greatly influenced and designed based on the varied properties of specific climates, regions, materials, and architectural styles. Because of the variety of design strategies, roof terminology is flexible and can range from flat roofs to steeply pitched angles. Similarly, roof shapes can be simple singular planes, form domes or arches, or can become complex combinations of slopes, gables, hips, cut-outs, and additions.