roof deck

7 Coolest Roof Photos

If you ask us, a good roof is one that’s well-built and does its job to protect your family and your home from the elements. The roofs you’ll see in today’s post do a lot more!

Get ready for 7 of the coolest roof photos we’ve ever seen. You’ll see rooftop patios, green roofs, and roofs that look like something out of Dr. Seuss’s imagination. If you live near Portland, we’ll even recommend a great rooftop restaurant.

1. Mana House, Los Angeles, CA

roof deck

Photo: Jeremy Levine

This summery California roof deck turns the home’s roof into extra living space. According to the home’s designers, the owners wanted a bright, vivid color scheme with as much sustainable technology and materials as possible. It looks like they got both!

Almost the entire deck is made from eco-friendly and recycled materials. It also features a photovoltaic solar energy system, a rainwater collection system, and a grey water recycling system. That means it filters used water from the washing machine, as well as bathroom sinks and showers, and pumps it up to the fruit trees in the garden.

What a beautiful space, and look at the view!

2. Evergreen Building, Vancouver, BC

green roof vancouver bc

Photo: NNECAPA Photo Library

How would you like to work here? This 10-story concrete office building gives a new meaning to the term “green roof.”

A green roof (sometimes called a living roof) is a roof partially or completely covered with growing vegetation. Green roofs are great for urban areas without much room for gardens. Green roofs are practical too: they provide insulation, absorb rainwater, and even help lower the ambient air temperature by mitigating the heat island effect which causes hotter air temperatures in urban areas.

The Evergreen Building has terraced garden patios on each floor. With its pyramid shape and overflows of greenery at every level, this roof just had to make our list!

It has become a landmark beloved by Vancouverites. Check out this slideshow for a look inside the building and some different angles of the exterior.

3. Roof Thatching, Mecklenburg, Germany

roof thatching

Photo: Erik Christensen

Roof thatching has been around since ancient times — no one really knows exactly when it started. In fact, thatch was the only roofing material available in many areas of England until the late 1800s. The photo above shows professional thatchers working on a roof in Germany.

Thatched roofs aren’t just a European method though. They exist all over the world, including parts of Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

thatched roofs around the world

Photos: Tjeerd Wiersma, Michael Gäbler

Many people still choose thatched roofs to preserve the historic appearance of very old homes. It’s also a pretty eco-friendly roofing option.

Basically a thatched roof is any roof built with dry vegetation, like straw or water reed. Professional roof thatchers know how to layer the material in a way that provides a solid barrier and protects the house.

4. Tallest Building in the World, Dubai, UAE

Burj Khalifa dubai

Photo: Darla دارلا Hueske

OK, so this isn’t a photo of a roof. Believe it or not, it’s a photo from a roof. This photo was taken from the highest observation deck of the world’s tallest architectural structure.

The building, called the Burj Khalifa, is located in Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates. It has been the tallest building in the world since it was completed in 2010.

Just to give you an idea of how high up it really is, the photographer who took this photo was on the 124th floor– nearly 1500 feet off the ground!

5. Vaux Swifts over Corvallis, OR

vaux swifts

Photo: Todd Kulesza

Here’s one many Oregonians will recognize: Vaux Swifts flying out of a chimney in Corvallis, Oregon.

Vaux Swifts are migratory birds that spend much of the summer in North America. According to the Audubon Society of Portland, they typically arrive in Oregon in late April where their eggs hatch by July.

In the fall they gather together in large groups, often in chimneys and smokestacks, to prepare for the journey south to Central America and Venezuela for the winter.

Watching them enter and exit their roost each night is an incredible experience many Oregonians look forward to each September

Want to go and watch them? The largest known roost of Vaux Swifts in the world is at Chapman Elementary School in Northwest Portland.

6. Park Güell, Barcelona, Spain

park guell

Photo: Bernard Gagnon

Antoni Gaudí, a famous Spanish architect, designed this giant Barcelona park. It was built between 1900 and 1914.

Park Güell has some of the most unconventional and interesting architecture in the world. And it’s a great place to see weird roofs (especially if you’re a roof buff like us).

Interestingly, the park was originally intended as a housing site, but only one liveable house was ever built. When no one came forward to buy it, Gaudí himself moved in, and the project changed direction. He lived there from 1906 to 1926, when the park opened to the public.

We promised you a Dr. Seuss roof. Here it is!

7. Departure, Portland, OR

departure restaurant portland or

Departure is a rooftop restaurant in downtown Portland. Go there for dinner and eat tasty Asian-fusion food, with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, too. It’s also a great hangout spot for after dinner cocktails, wines, and drinks.

The chic space is located on the top floor of the Nines Hotel. In a casual city like Portland, it’s one of the few dressy eateries in the downtown area. As one Trip Advisor reviewer put it, Departure has “just the right amount of swank if you’re looking for a chance to get your fun dress or tie out.”

When it comes to cool roofs, it doesn’t get much better than rooftop restaurants. Take a look at the incredible view of our city!

What Did We Miss?

Is there a roof you were hoping to see that we didn’t include? How about a rooftop soccer stadium? Rooftop pools? A crazy view from the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral?

Tell us about your favorite unique roof in the comments!