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· Colin Rice

Leaves of aluminium

Queensland house comes to Norfolk

What is it about classic sinusoidal corrugated roofing that so appeals?

I'm not sure I know the answer but I love the soft corduroy lines on the roof plane, tight and strong.

For lovers of resource efficiency, making a flat sheet thinner than a millimetre span a metre or more was an idea of genius. It is a true product of the industrial revolution: standardised, lightweight, transportable, reusable, it played a major role in helping to build in the emerging countries.  First used on Gravesend Pier in 1845, the material remains a key part of the Australian vernacular, its status elevated from mere building to architecture in the hands of great architects like Glenn Murcutt. We used it with sparkling effect at the Cheltenham Media Centre and student houses.

Aluminium roofs at Cheltenham

Deteriorating felt roofing on my seaside shack this summer gave a perfect excuse to evoke the Queensland House. Next to the sea, galvanised iron would soon be red with rust so we used (as at Cheltenham) simple mill finished aluminium. On a plot of rough grass there is no need for gutters, so the sharp edges throw off the water straight to the ground. It's lovely to read the sheetiness of the material as Murcutt manages - which makes hips a challenge. At Cheltenham we did this by secret gutters at the hips - more abstract but just a bit too hard for a local builder. At the end of the day, shedding the water remains top priority.

Inspiration - an old Queenslander

A sparkling new roof


 

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