May was such a busy month for me, which was great but also meant I had limited time to write posts. So I’m getting back in the blog posting game this week with a simple post on mansard roofs and that means a “What is this jargon!?!” post!
YAY! You’re excited, Right? Well, at least I’m excited about mansard roofs. I love pointing them out when I’m riding shotgun in other people’s cars.
So anyways….mansard roofs are easy to identify and have a really cool back story.
So the technical definition of the mansard roof is that it is a low-pitched hipped roof with four double-pitched sloping sides. The lower pitch is steeper than the upper pitch and sometimes it can be curved upwards, curve inwards, or be straight. Mansard roofs also can go by the name French roof or curb roof. These roofs are seen on Second French Empire, Beaux Arts, and Richardsonian Romanesque style buildings.i
Let’s get a visual!
Mansard roofs have a long history. They were first recorded “Mansard Roof” was way back in the 16th century on the Louvre. They were popularized by the French architect François Mansart, who lived in France during the 17th century. Monsieur Mansart’s last name was used to name these roofs that he had made popular.
The mansard roof allows for the attic space to be used as a living area. In Paris a law had been passed during the 1700’s that limited the height of a building beneath the roof line. The mansard roof allowed a way around the height restriction.ii
Plus, adding a mansard roof to an existing building is an easy fix when it comes to needing more living space instead of masonry work. Most mansard roofs have windows, called dormer windows (we’ll check those out on another day) and those windows allow light for the living space.
Check out these other examples of mansard roofs:
Now you know what mansard roofs are and can point them out to everyone you know!
If you are interested in learning more on this type of roof visit the following links:
“Buffalo as an Architectural Museum.” This website has a lot of great information about the architecture of Buffalo. The following link goes to their Mansard Roof page and has a bunch of photos you can look at of mansard roofs in Buffalo NY: http://www.buffaloah.com/a/DCTNRY/m/mansard.html
Mansard Roofs and the Second French Empire Style: http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/portal/communities/architecture/styles/second-empire.html
While researching the history of mansard roofs, I stumbled across this article from the New York Times, “The Heyday of Mansard Roofs,” : http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/realestate/06streetscapes-mansard-roofs.html?_r=0
If you’re interested in the Second French Empire Style in Canada, check out this website: http://parkscanadahistory.com/series/chs/24/chs24-1q.htm