What’s the Story with the Mansard Roof?

A mansard roof goes by a variety of other names: a curb roof, a French roof, or simply a mansard. It is a roofing style derived from the gambrel style. It has four sides and actually falls under a category of hip roof. Its noticeable character is the presence of two slopes on each side: an upper slope and a much steeper lower slope. The lower slopes are typically lined with dormer windows. While the upper slopes are not easily observable from street level and a close proximity, the windowed lower slopes have more to them.

Mansard Roof: A Brief History

An additional habitable living space can be constructed within these lower slopes while at the same time reduce the total height of the roof. The earliest application of a mansard can be attributed to Pierre Lescot who built part of the Louvre with this roofing in 1550s. However, the style was popularized in early 17th century by Francois Mansart—whose name became the name the roofing style is known as. In Europe, the term mansard is used to also refer to the attic under the roof of such style, not only the shape of the roof itself. The term gambrel roof is instead more common in Europe to refer to the shape on its own.

A mansard roofoffers a homeowner a chance to maximize the use of an attic’s interior space. In its application to a preexisting building, a mansard allows an owner to add one or more floors without having to deal with the matters of masonry. Decorative potential can be exploited in this roofing system by use of either concave or convex curvature coupled with dormer windows displaying elaborate ornaments. Application of mansard faded overtime but was briefly revived during the 70s. At that time, adapting postmodern architectural elements became a fad in residential housing and apartment buildings.