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The Gable Roof: History of a Common Roof Construction Style

The Gable Roof: History of a Common Roof Construction Style By Craig Friesen
HIPhome Columnist
December 31, 1969

It may seem that wherever you look in modern architecture you see all types of gable roofs. This may be true but don't let the abundant use of the gable by roofing contractors lead you to see it as boring. The gable roof style has its roots in some very impressive Greek and Roman architecture.

A Roof by Any Other Name?

When the gable appears in classic Roman or Greek architecture it is called the tympanum. The gable portion of a roof construction is the triangular portion of wall that fills in the space at the end of two sloping roof sections. In the classic Greek or Roman roof constructions, the gable or tympanum was held as a place ideal for artistic embellishment. Samples of this are the Greek National Academy building in Athens and the remains of the Parthenon. Such samples of this noble roof construction style show its ornamental, structural and functional importance. In modern architecture roofing contractors do tend toward a more understated elegance where the gable roof ornamentation is concerned. Still, it is possible to use this veritable cornerstone of architecture to its fullest. Many modern businesses use the gable frontage of shops in much the same way that they were used in medieval times. Using the gable to display signage or ornamentation which depicts the function of a building is really what it was about for the ancient Greek and Roman sculptors.

Ancient Architecture, Modern Roof

When considering the roof construction of your new home or in renovation of an existing roof, be sure to discuss with your roofing contractor the various ways to use this architectural building block. By adding accenting siding colors or textures or through the use of decorative carving at the peak or cornices, your roofing contractor will have many ways to liven up this classic roof construction style.

About the Author
Craig Friesen is a freelance writer and an ordained Mennonite minister in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from University of Manitoba and a Master of Divinity degree from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. A computer hobbyist, Craig operates several home-based online businesses in his leisure time.

*Before you apply any of the advice described on the Hip-home.com website, you should consider if the advice is safe and suitable for your individual home situation and consult experts as necessary to evaluate the suitability for your circumstances.
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