Features & Benefits

Why choose a curved roof cottage or home?

Curved buildings complement the natural landscape, and studies show that interiors with increased curvature are perceived as more aesthetically pleasing, energizing and calming. Beyond these intrinsic benefits, curved roofs also:

Nature prefers curves... and so do we

The West Coast of Canada is among the most beautiful and scenic places in the world. Inspired, in part, by the natural environment. DwellTech produces modern, Quonset Hut style, curved roof dwellings which complement the landscape.

Compatibility with the environment makes curved-roof structures especially well-suited for West Coast living – whether it be a weather-hardened oceanside home, a seasonal retreat set in the temperate rainforest, or a backyard suburban cottage for a grandparent or guests. The benefits associated with curved roof structures make them much more than a novel design aesthetic – they also minimize heating and cooling issues, have unprecedented structural durability, pass along cost-savings and reduce material waste.

Let’s review some of these advantages and differentiators in greater detail, as well as explore why Quonset-style structures are so well suited to our West Coast environment.

Temperature Regulation

The location, placement, and orientation of a curved roof structure can offer many advantages in terms of heating and cooling. The amount of heat that translates into your home is dependent on its position relative to the direct sun. Angular sun rays reflect the heat away, resulting in the home staying cooler. With the right orientation, you can cut back on your energy needs, as the home will need less effort to cool the space. In this regard, curved roofs are exceptional energy savers. The structure’s orientation can be positioned according to the predictable angle of the sun’s rays, sloping to take advantage of cooling potential.

Similarly, the transmission of heat is enhanced with a curved roof structure by circulating interior heat with the flowing semi-cylindrical shape of the roof. In contrast, flat roofs tolerate a longer duration of direct sunlight when compared to a curved surface. In this sense, flat roofs contribute to a home remaining hotter for longer. Meanwhile with a curved roof design they receive less concentrated sun rays, reducing the potential for your home to absorb excess heat because only a small portion of the surface is exposed to direct sunlight.

Think of the curvature of the earth, for example, as an analogy. The equator is hotter than the northern and southern hemispheres because the sunlight is more concentrated on the flatter surface area of the globe’s circumference.

Architectural Aesthetic

The curved form is a quintessential representation of West Coast living; flowing, sweeping lines that integrate into – rather than interrupt – their surroundings. In practice, a curved roof design can actually be more adaptable and design-friendly than a conventional flat roof.

There are many different choices of colours, models, textures and materials that can be utilized and taken into consideration when building a curved roof structure. The curved roof design allows for aesthetic upgrades as well, like contrasting angular decks, porches and dormers, or juxtaposing additions that cause visual push-and-pull, accentuating the relationship between its location and its form. The front and back walls of the curved roof layout serve as wide open canvases to explore different finishes and materials such as cedar (for a traditional West Coast look), tile, fiber cement board, stone, or metal. With an elegant and organic overall look, a curved roof also tends to be visible from a distance.

Further to the external aesthetic appeal of the design, a curved roof allows for a greater open concept interior area. A major misconception of curved roof structures is that there will be less interior space, but this isn’t the case. In a DwellTech home, only 15% – or less – of the total area is below 6 feet in height, and roofs can exceed 11 feet or higher depending on the model.

Structural Durability/Benefits

One of the obvious benefits of a curved roof structure is its ability to withstand the challenging weather conditions that can come with West Coast living.

The arch shape of the Quonset Hut design is a pure compression form, meaning it can span a large area by resolving forces into compressive stresses and as such, eliminate tensile stresses. All forces subjected to the shape are transferred to the ground, pushing outwards at the base – a dynamic known as thrust. In order for the arch to withstand collapse, the thrust at the base of the arch needs to be restrained with external braces or internal ties.

The material DwellTech uses in building its curved roof structures is a 55% Aluminum-Zinc Alloy called TruZinc®. TruZinc is then offered in your choice of 5 colors of Spectrascape® SMP protective coating which comes with a 40 year Limited Warranty. However, studies such as the Metal Construction Association’s – “Service Life Assessment report” project service life estimates exceeding the 300 year mark for this type of metal structure in our salty, temperate and typically wet West Coast Canadian climate. See the full study.

Each panel of TruZinc is machine seamed using DwellTech’s unique “Arches Building System” equipment. This mobile system allows for fabrication directly on the build site location and provides a tight, corrosion resistant roofing seal that uses no exposed fasteners and features continuous, full-span structural panels.

A key benefit of the curved surface is that it is low maintenance, an especially important feature if your cottage happens to be used only seasonally or intermittently, or is remotely located. The curved roof sheds fallen branches, leaves, and heavy wet snow characteristic of the Coast, keeping the roof free of debris. Further, the rain gutters are located close to the ground and shedding water well, meaning you never have to climb a ladder to clean the eaves troughs.

Finally, above being able to support great weights, a properly designed and installed curved design is also very resistant to strong persistent coastal, and mountain winds – even hurricane force winds. In fact, Quonset Hut designs have been known to withstand wind force of up to 170 miles per hour.

Cost & Material Waste Reduction

The shape of a curved roof structure allows builders and home owners of DwellTech curved roof/wall buildings to move forward with construction knowing that material consumption, and wastage, will be significantly lower than that of traditional construction methods. At DwellTech we believe in making more from less and the reduction of raw materials translates into a smaller environmental footprint – something that is increasingly important to many homeowners.

Research and scientific studies that support the benefits of curves to the human condition:

  1. Why rounded corners are easier on the eyes
  2. Do our brains find certain shapes more attractive than others?
  3. Do these buildings turn you on?
  4. Does curvy furniture make you feel relaxed and hopeful? You're not alone.
  5. Thermal behaviour of buildings with curved roofs as compared with flat roofs