Inspiring Designs for Rooftop Living
Glassed-in popups and rooftop decks expand living space in the city
Houzz Contributor. I am an architect and writer living in New York City. I have Bachelor of Architecture and Master in Urban Planning degrees, and over ten years experience in architectural practice, split between Chicago and NYC. Currently I'm focused on writing and online pursuits. My daily blog can be found at http://archidose.blogspot.com
Houzz Contributor. I am an architect and writer living in New York City.... More
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When living in the city it's not always possible to have a yard — an outdoor space at ground level that can be used for running around, grilling, or just enjoying the weather. Small lots and vertical living points to roof space as a replacement for a yard. And one way of uniting this roof space within a house is to build a rooftop addition. Here are a few projects that prop themselves up on the roof for a range of reasons.
The Tehama Grasshopper designed by Fougeron Architecture is a project I've featured on more than one occasion. Relative to other projects on Houzz, it's unique for being a renovation of a warehouse and a startling modern interior that belies the fairly mundane exterior. The rooftop addition in San Francisco is a one-story glass piece that is marked by a window that bows out on one side.
From across the street, it's apparent how the rooftop piece is a new element on the two-story building. The glass enclosure is not totally alien — it is approximately the size of one of the windows below — but the articulation of the glass and framing make it even more open than the existing windows.
From the top of the stair that leads to this penthouse, we can see that a bedroom occupies the space. Note how the door at the end of the photo is custom, to fit next to the angled wall that faces the rooftop deck.
Looking back towards the stair, it's clear how the projecting window is related to a kink in the ceiling over the stair. This kink creates another window that brings more light into the bedroom.
Now looking along the stair, perpendicular to the previous photo, it's apparent that usable rooftop space is found on the other side of this addition. Therefore the residents can enjoy the outdoor space at various times of the day by following the sun across the roof.
Heading to Canada and Toronto, this third-floor master bedroom and bathroom addition designed by Wanda Ely Architect is perched upon an existing building much more residential in character than the previous example. It's evident from this view that the addition is approximately 2/3 enclosed and 1/3 roof deck.
A view from another angle shows the glass windows and doors between inside and outside and the wood fence in the foreground; the former connects inside and outside, while the latter provides privacy.
From within the addition, it's clear that the roof deck is an intimate extension of the space inside.
Seen from outside, yes, the deck is small, but any bit of outdoor space is welcome in the city. The sliding glass doors are also a great way of uniting inside and outside, bringing a bit of the outdoors into the house.
Like the previous example, this rooftop addition atop a three-story condo in San Francisco unites inside and outside through an operable wall. Designed by William Duff Architects, the master bedroom suite takes advantage of views over surrounding buildings.
From the top of the stair, the custom cabinetry on one side of the large room is evident. Note how the clerestory windows are echoed in the recessed areas above the doors, used for locating picture frames.