Unique heritage roofing, around the world

We love our home in Kent. We’re even named after our nearest neighbouring town, and one of our favourite places in the world, Tenterden. But we’re also privileged to have seen more of the world – and its beautiful architecture.

 

There’s still so much more to see and learn about, so many techniques, tools and crafts. Some are forever lost to the ages – available to us only in the structures that survive today; like the pyramids of ancient Egypt, or the know-how that brought us Stonehenge.

 

You see, we humans have all had the same problems since day one. We all need food, water, and shelter. All are non-negotiables. And, while every culture and civilization has arrived at radically different solutions to our shared problems (ways of cooking and preserving food, storing water, and building structures), we’ve all come up with the same solution for keeping out of the rain; roofing.

 

But of course, no two areas are alike. The materials available, prevailing weather conditions and climate – and of course the cultures and styles of the people – all shape how buildings (and the roofing atop them) will turn out.

 

So, in this post, we celebrate just a few of the world’s most jaw-dropping heritage roofing.

Our favourite unique roofs from around the world

Casa Batllo, Spain

Roof of Casa Batllo

Everyone who loves buildings has a little bit of a soft spot for Antoni Gaudi. His designs are among the greatest bodies of architectural work in history. Every single structure is achingly beautiful, decorative – and a bit impractical. But we can’t help but love him even more for it. When it comes to roofing, the custom made tiles atop the “House of Bones” in Barcelona are simply stunning. There’s no other building like it – and these meticulously crafted “dragon’s scales” are unique creations in themselves. Preserving this roof requires 

 

St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Austria

Roof of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Austria

Oh Vienna… A beautiful city that’ll leave its mark on you for life. Standing on the ruins of two earlier churches, the Romanesque and Gothic structure of St. Stephen’s Cathedral at Stephansplatz is located exactly in the geographical centre of Vienna. And it’s a sight that you’ll remember forever. A lot of that is thanks to the ornate patterned roof – covered with around 230,000 glazed tiles, and angled so steeply that it cleans itself whenever it rains. The cathedral dates back to the 12th century, but numerous incidents (especially during WWII) have meant near constant acts of preservation have been required over its life, especially to the roof.

Himeji Castle, Japan

Screenshot 2023 03 31 At 11.58.40

This seemingly brand new structure was first built in 1609, in feudal Japan – and has been painstakingly cared for ever since. And that’s not snow on the roof, either; that’s how it was designed to look. Each outer roof tile is coated with plaster to be brilliant white, in stark contrast to the inner black tiles. This, along with signature details typical of the area and period, give the effect of a snow-dusted rooftop – and make this stronghold an unforgettable sight to behold.

Matthias Church, Hungary

Roof of Matthias Church, Hungary

Budapest is home to some incredible architecture – and a lot of great heritage roofing, too! It was hard to pick between the impressively intricate work on the Geological Museum of Budapest, and this – the roof of Mattias Church. But, for us, this has everything we love; pattern, colour, local tiling, and a keenly preserved traditional style. In fact, Budapest is literally covered with heritage roofing, and there’s ample opportunity to enjoy it from above; many of the tall buildings in the area offer amazing aerial views.

The importance of preserving unique cultural artefacts

It’s easy to see, when you’re presented with something so beautiful, why it needs protection. These buildings deserve care; not only for their beauty, but for the connection they give us to our past:

 

Read more – Why do we need to preserve historic buildings?

 

And perhaps more importantly – if we forget how to care for these buildings, we forget a piece of ourselves. Imagine if the craft and skill required to create an ornately tiled pattern was forgotten in the way the techniques that erected the Great Pyramid have been forgotten? That might sound like a ridiculous stretch, but when you think about things like family recipes being forgotten, and mother tongues being lost when people move to a new country, It’s not that ridiculous at all…

 

That’s why it matters that traditional techniques are passed down over generations – to keep these places, and the memories within them, alive. At Tenterden Roofing, the time-honoured traditions of roof building and preservation have been passed from generation to generation; a practice that we’re keen to continue, long into the future.

Heritage roofing specialists in Kent

Tenterden Roofing is a heritage roofing specialist in Kent. See our latest work on Instagram – and contact us for a quote at [email protected]