Let’s be real: for the average person, roofs aren’t the most exciting thing ever. You might even say they’re a tad boring. We’d argue with you, because we love all things roofing, but we’re a little unusual. When you take the time to look around, however, you’ll find that there are some pretty creative roofs out there. Green roofs covered with grass! Swimming pool roofs! Here are eight weird roof photos from around the world that defy the dull stereotype. They might just inspire you for your next residential roofing project


1. King Edward Street, Vancouver, B.C.

This quirky, wavy roof looks like a cross between rice paddies on a rolling hill and a hobbit home. The funky house is part cottage, part Elizabethan, and mostly just unafraid to let its freak flag fly. With two chimneys, you know it’s warm and cozy inside, too. A cup of mead, anyone?


2. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA

Source: volcan96

While it looks like something from another planet, it’s just a roof in San Francisco. This looks like somewhere you’d meet little aliens and have to wear a spacesuit, but it’s really just the top of the California Academy of Sciences, one of the world’s biggest natural history museums. Italian architect Renzo Piano designed the 2.5-acre roof.

The Academy explains, “The Living Roof provides excellent insulation (reducing energy needs for heating and cooling), captures 100% of excess stormwater (preventing runoff from carrying pollutants into the ecosystem), and transforms carbon dioxide into oxygen — just for starters.” You can still believe the whole UFO thing anyway, we won’t tell.


3. Fábrica do Inglês, Silves, Algarve, Portugal

Can anyone say–Ouch? This pointy roof in Portugal is maybe not the best place to land if you’re skydiving and have drifted off course. Otherwise, it’s beautiful. The Fábrica do Inglês is a museum/leisure and culture space in the city of Algarve. We love the bright colours and bold geometric designs. Pointy roof, we salute you.


4. Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant, Sister Bay, WI

Eat, drink and let the goats be merry. Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant is famous for having several goats on the roof, contently chomping away. Al himself said before he died (RIP!), “If I mention to someone overseas that I’m from Sister Bay in Door County, Wisconsin, they usually say the same thing: ‘Oh, you mean that place with the goats on the roof?’” Nice. Good food and a petting zoo to boot. Sign us up!


5. 350.org Headquarters, Prospect Heights, NY

You mean you don’t have your name enthusiastically emblazoned across your rooftop in paint so bright it’s visible from space? Why not? This is both a treat for the eyes from above and a genius marketing move. Shine on, 350.org, shine on.


6. Rooftop Pool (Unknown Hotel), New Orleans, Louisiana

Source: whatsername?

Why take a dip in your backyard when you could splash around on the roof? You know, hangin’ out on the roof. In the pool. In the glorious Louisiana sunshine. If your roof doesn’t have views like this, don’t feel bad. At least you don’t have to worry about planes flying overhead as you do laps. Plus, shingles don’t need nearly as much chlorine and temperature control. That’s a win-win in our books.


7. Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk, VA

Source: Jim Brickett

Green roofs are the new black. No, this is not a tiny house being consumed by nature in an apocalyptic scenario; it’s the Public Programs hut at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Garden staff learned about green roofs and promptly built this one in 2008 using succulents like sedum and sempervivum. Horticulture Director Brian O’Neil explains, “They grow well in the full, hot, blazing sun. They don’t have a very deep root system so they can live nicely in the shallow root zone that is provided.” Let’s not forget that it’s cute as a button, too.


8. Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, Orschwiller, Alsace, France

While I know in my heart these are shingles, I can’t help thinking, “Popsicles!” I’m seeing cherry, grape, and maybe even another flavour in there (strawberry? plum?). Medieval French castle meets gingerbread house. Savour with your eyes only; no need to channel your inner Hansel and Gretel. Don’t eat your roof, kids.


While these fun and unusual rooftops make us giddy (we’re roofers, remember?), we assume that the average homeowner isn’t looking to move some goats onto their property or paint their roof in technicolour glory. 

Looking to redo your roof? Wherever your vision is, No Payne Roofing can help you make it come alive. From roof replacements to roof repairs in Calgary, we offer reliable, fast and courteous services along with unmatched quality craftsmanship. Give us a shout today and let’s work together to make your roofing job a reality.