The formative roof geometry of a single-family house near Hamburg acts like "a ship in the forest". The flat clay roof tiles in noble graphite represent the hull.

Project details

Project

Single-family dwelling in Nordheide, near Hamburg, Germany

Architect

Nils von Minckwitz, Berlin

Roofers / carpenters

Holzvolk, Waddeweitz

Clay roof tiles used

Actua 10, true graphitep

Single-family house near Hamburg

Single-family house near Hamburg

Single-family house near Hamburg

Single-family house near Hamburg

Single-family house near Hamburg

Single-family house near Hamburg

Single-family house near Hamburg

Single-family house near Hamburg

Single-family house near Hamburg

Single-family house near Hamburg

Single family house near Hamburg

Single family house near Hamburg

A safe home

The developers, a couple with careers in the media, were not satisfied with the double-pitched roof originally specified by the building authorities, and so they looked for a more interesting alternative. In trips abroad, the couple was particularly impressed by large barns in Ohio with their highly rounded roofs. In Scandinavia, they were struck by the contrast between the dark roofs and light wooden façades. These two impressions gradually gave birth to an idea of a house with a large, convex tiled roof. The house needed to consist of natural materials and be a safe refuge for the young family far away from the hectic day-to-day world of the media.

Modern roof interpretation

The architect, Nils von Minckwitz from Berlin, justly compares this roof design with “a ship‘s hull in a sea of pines” since the zeppelin roof is also termed a “hull roof”. The flat, true graphite Koramic Actua 10 roof tiles represent the dark hull of ship. In addition, notes Minckwitz, “roof tiles are a modern phenomenon and hence give the traditional roof shape which initially arose in the 1920s a new, modern twist.” The roof is covered with tiles from stem to stern and takes up approximately one-third of the height of the building. Starting at eaves which are vertical like a façade, the roof curves protectively over the top floor and then runs at an approximately 30 degree angle to the ridge. The half-offset roof tiles emphasise the horizontal lines. Even though the roof is covered with flat roof tiles, the curve seems natural. The special, straight Actua ridge is an appropriate choice for the design.

Home sweet home in nature

In addition, the “family ship” in Nordheide is a thoroughly modern structure. With at least 16 cm of insulation in the walls, 24 cm in the roof, triple glazing, solar and wood heating, the single-family house made of natural materials is largely energy self-sufficient. There are no real heating costs to speak of. After all, the house is in the middle of a forest.

Unique roof design

The zeppelin roof is a rare roof design related to the barrel roof, and is generally not found in most reference works for roofers and carpenters. However, the designation “zeppelin roof” is used by educators in the roofer‘s school in Lehesten, Thuringia. In contrast to a genuine barrel roof that does not have a slope or a ridge at the highest point of the roof, the zeppelin roof has a slope and a ridge at the top which allows it to be completely covered with roof tiles. This particular round roof design first came into being around 1920 and is characterized by the so-called Zollinger style. Architect Fritz Zollinger, formerly head of the building department in Merseburg near Halle, patented the wood-saving Zollinger slatted roof. His economical design offered large, support-free attic space and, as a side-effect, created a new roof shape. The technique was used until approximately 1940 for businesses and residences in Germany, Europe and the USA. The roof of the single-family house in Nordheide has nothing but its shape in common with the Zollinger design.

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