Designing isn’t all about clothing and facades. Everything made by humans has to be designed by someone, including the thousands of things we see everyday but never think twice of, like broomsticks and rooftops. That’s why today I want to give some credit to roof design.
Architects put a lot of effort into their roofs. In a medieval cathedral, in fact, everything is built up to support the roof which is made of stone. In order to do this they need flying buttresses and ribs in the vaulted ceiling. A lot of thought and planning goes into every roof, but some more than others.
My favorite roof designs are:
- Sydney Opera House
- Hagia Sophia
- Space Needle
- One World Trade Center
- Lotus Temple
The reasons I love these roofs can each be explained in separate posts. But here today I’ll explain another not so common roof that deserves credit–the Legislative Assembly of Victoria BC also known as the Parliament Building even though Canada has their real Parliament in Ottawa. And, no, I didn’t just choose this building because it’s Canada Day today. I chose the Parliament Building because the roof is actually spectacular and holds vast history in the image itself.
You may not know this but there’s a concrete historical reason why domes are often used on government buildings, and it goes back to the Byzantium and the Hagia Sophia. To build a domed roof is one of the hardest designs to get away with and today I bet it would be very hard to find the roofer Victoria BC would need to build such a domed structure today. That’s why it’s so special, because to build a domed roof out of wood and metal today is one thing, but to do so a hundred years ago with nothing but stone is a whole other task.
In Victoria BC, the domed roof of the Parliament Building dominates the landscape of the harbor there, and people coming off the boat from Seattle are reminded of the slow and steady pace of democracy as it evolved from ancient Greece to parliaments around the world today. The history is in the architecture itself, and there’s a reason why locals cherish such old buildings and don’t have their governments in modern buildings with flat, boring roof designs.
I’m not a historian so I don’t know the history in detail but I can say this–the designs are very old and have been brought over from Europe where they were preserved by stone masons for hundreds of years.
Now, today, we can sit back in awe at the extraordinary power that such roof designs permeate out into their purlieus. So let’s enjoy this sights!