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Any Thoughts on Barrel-Vault Roofs?

by Kevin Nelson last modified May 09, 2006 03:09 PM
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Any Thoughts on Barrel-Vault Roofs?

Posted by Kevin Nelson at December 16. 2005

Please forgive me if this is a rehash, I only see three pages of topics so I believe this is a fresh topic.
I am considering building/remodeling in the next year or two and wondered about peoples opinions on Barrel Vault roofs, especially in the Mpls Area.
I have seen a lot of contemporary designs with this feature in some $$ custom homes, but it does not seem to be of any interest to archiitects and builders in this arena as far as I can tell.
I will enclose an example of which I speak - Knud Hlscher bulit this for himself in Denmark. The photo is the cover of ScandiModern, a book avaialble through Amazon.com

Re: Any Thoughts on Barrel-Vault Roofs?

Posted by Matthew O. Daby at December 16. 2005

I think they are cool when used correctly. Here is an unbuilt project I did with a half barrel vault. (i went to school in mpls. if that counts. :))

Check out Anderson/Anderson in Washington. They designed a cool barrel vault structure which was on the cover of dwell a couple years ago.

[url href=http://www.andersonanderson.com/WebsiteAAA/Kennedy.htm]http://www.andersonanderson.com/WebsiteAAA/Kennedy.htm[/url]

Re: Any Thoughts on Barrel-Vault Roofs?

Posted by Matthew O. Daby at December 16. 2005

Ok, the website is acting up and would let me post the image. I will have to try later.

One other comment I was going to make. Barrel vaults can require additional cost. You will need to consider the possiblity of curved structural members, bendable wall board, possible additional labor for trademen to layout and build curves, etc. But, don't let that discourage you from what you would really like.

cheers!

Re: Any Thoughts on Barrel-Vault Roofs?

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at December 16. 2005

You can avoid the curved beams if you design your structure to not require them. Look at the Anderson project that Mod linked to. You will see that they used straight roof rafters going side to side between two walls with arched tops. Its easier to build the supporting walls with a curved top than to get rafters or beams that are curved.

Re: Any Thoughts on Barrel-Vault Roofs?

Posted by nextmodernfacilities at December 17. 2005

hey bearfilm,
just finished a project that used curved wood beams and wood decking, it was not too difficult to achieve, even with a contractor who was initially skeptical. email me and I can give you some specifics if you want. my supplier was http://www.rigidply.com - they were great.

Re: Any Thoughts on Barrel-Vault Roofs?

Posted by Kevin Nelson at December 17. 2005

Thanks one and all for the tips, especially for the rigidply link.
I am just enthralled with the concept so if I am able to push forward with this whole thing, I will be thrilled.
--
next - i have encountered the same skepticism from people here, is it unfamiliarity with the materials or are there some major drawbacks (other than cost)to be aware of? I would assume that this style of roof would be ideal for snow as the curved pitch gives no major surface for the snow to adhere to unless the angle is to flat.
--
mod - if you want to e-mail your photo instead, send it to bearfilm@gmail.com
--
Thanks again to all!

Re: Any Thoughts on Barrel-Vault Roofs?

Posted by Kevin Nelson at December 17. 2005

oh and mod, if you want to e-mail your project photo send it to bearfilm@gmail.com - I can try to scan in my sketch on monday.

Re: Any Thoughts on Barrel-Vault Roofs?

Posted by Chas. Schwartz at December 20. 2005

I have found (as a amateur owner-builder) that anything that is curved adds cost -- sometimes a LOT of cost. Building materials are usually straight and it takes a lot of effort to get round! If you are in a cold area, or one like CA (my state) with very strict energy codes, and are considering a barrel vault roof, you will also have to consider how to make it meet the R value requirements, which can mean a barrel-shaped void to fill with insulating material, which itself can mean two different curves (inside and outside) to deal with. In all, it could be more complex than it seems or than it's worth. OTOH, before codes were so strict (around 1960) Case Study House # 20, the Saul Bass house, in Alta Dena, CA used several sections of barrel vault roofs to a terrific effect; however, they were custom made and only about 2 thick, which would put them out of the ballpark today!

Re: Any Thoughts on Barrel-Vault Roofs?

Posted by Kevin Nelson at February 01. 2006

So, part of the attraction would be the natural light as in the photo in my original post.
I found this source and wonder what you guys may think of this product. It appears to be pretty cool!
http://www.kalwall.com/
one of the links leads to a home in Maine, that I have to think has the same kind of winters in MN - http://www.solar-components.com/shoji.htm

Also, is that really considered a barrel vault or just an arc/arch roof? I have a hard time finding any other manufacturers like rigid-ply.

Re: Any Thoughts on Barrel-Vault Roofs?

Posted by Tom Emerson at February 03. 2006

I've used the product a number of times in Maine NH (I worked for the firm that did the gridded building on their home page). Kalwall is located in NH and performs well in this environment. I would assume MN to be similar. The house you liked is actually in MA and was designed by Mark Hutker for clients who were familiar with the project my former firm completed. Kalwall is not cheap. It's advantage is the light transmission and that will save on energy over the long haul.

Re: Any Thoughts on Barrel-Vault Roofs?

Posted by Steven Comisso at May 09. 2006

Another approach would be a quonset type arch that resolves itself vertically onto some sub structure you create. These are generally made of sections bolted together. What you need to do is add stubs to the bolts and connect a series of perlins to which your ply could be attached. You can then blow ICY foam into the cavities and roof with membrane or shingles or a combo. On the interior, you laminate 1/2 gwb. For shape, I like the S-Series. Have a look at http://www.pioneersteel.com/sseries.php

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