Let’s be honest: Roofs aren’t the most exciting thing ever. You might even say they’re boring. (We’d argue with you, because we love roofing, but we’re a little unusual.) There are some pretty creative roofs out there, though. Green roofs covered with grass! Swimming pool roofs! Check out these 10 weird roof photos from around the world that defy the dull stereotype. They might just inspire you…
1. King Edward Street, Vancouver, B.C.
Source:David J. Laporte
This funky, wavy roof looks like a cross between french fries and a hobbit home. The zany house is part cottage, part Elizabethan, and mostly just unafraid to let its freak flag fly. With two chimneys, you know it’s cozy inside, too. Mead, anyone?
2. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA
What planet is this? San Francisco, of course. This looks like somewhere you’d meet little green people and have to wear a gas mask, but it’s really just the top of the California Academy of Sciences, one of the world’s biggest natural history museums. Italian architect Renzo Piano designed the 2.5 acre roof.
The Academy explains, “The Living Roof provides excellent insulation (reducing energy needs for heating and cooling), captures 100% of excess storm water (preventing runoff from carrying pollutants into the ecosystem), and transforms carbon dioxide into oxygen — just for starters.” Still denying the whole UFO thing, I see…
3. Fábrica do Inglês, Silves, Algarve, Portugal
Source:Pedro Ribeiro Simões
Ouch. This roof in Portugal is maybe not the best place to land if you’re skydiving and have drifted off course. Otherwise, it’s gorgeous. The Fábrica do Inglês is a museum slash leisure and culture space in Algarve. We dig the bright colors and geometric designs.
4. Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant, Sister Bay, WI
Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant is famous for having several goats on the roof, contentedly chomping away. Al himself said before he died (RIP!), “If I mention to someone overseas that I’m from Sister Bay in Door County, Wisconsin, they usually say the same thing: ‘Oh, you mean that place with the goats on the roof?’” Nice. Can Ikea serve up a side of quirk with their Swedish meatballs? Didn’t think so.
5. 350.org Headquarters, Prospect Heights, NY
What? You don’t have your name emblazoned across your roof in paint so bright it’s visible from space?
6. Mountain Equipment Co-op, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Mountain Equipment Co-operative (MEC) is an outdoorsy retailer with an equally outdoorsy roof. More than half of the building is made of recycled material, and the flower-festooned roof also hosts native plants and shrubs. Just makes you want to frolic around and sniff the fresh air while a butterfly lands on your nose.
7. Rooftop Pool (Unknown Hotel), New Orleans, Louisiana
Just, you know, hangin’ out on the roof. In the pool. In the glorious Louisiana sunshine. You mean your roof doesn’t look like this, with a view of some famous bridge in the background? Don’t feel bad. At least you don’t have to worry about planes flying overhead as you do laps. Plus, shingles don’t need nearly as much chlorine and temperature control.
8. Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk, VA
Sadly, this is not a tiny house being eaten by nature, but the Public Programs hut at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Garden staff learned about green roofs and promptly built one in 2008 using succulents like sedum and sempervivum. Horticulture Director Brian O’Neil explains, “They grow well in full, hot, blazing sun. They don’t have a very deep root system so they can live nicely in the shallow root zone that is provided.” And of course there’s the obvious cuteness factor.
9. Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, Orschwiller, Alsace, France
Source: Seattle Roamer
I know in my heart these are shingles, but I can’t help thinking, “Popsicles!” I’m seeing cherry, grape, and maybe even another flavor in there (vanilla? plum?). Doesn’t this Medieval French castle just look like a gingerbread house up close? But something, probably logic, tells me that actually biting this would wreak havoc on your teeth. Don’t eat your roof, kids.
10. Public Restroom, Portland, OR
Source: Ian Sane
We HAD to end with a Portland one! No, this isn’t the home of a gentle forest groundskeeper à la Hagrid, but rather a bathroom in Chimney Park in St. Johns. Now you have an excuse to go exploring with your dog this weekend. Just bring your lawnmower — this roof could use a haircut.