Detached or ‘skybreak’ roofs are roofs that are supported independently of the main structure and thus serve as a basic shield against rain and wind while leaving insulation and privacy to other structural elements. There are a variety of reasons why different designs may employ a skybreak approach.
•The approach is sometimes employed for simple homes in hot climates to allow a continuous ‘breezeway’ under a roof and preclude hot air build-up underneath. It may also be used as a barrier to prevent transmitting sound of rain on simple corrugated alloy roofing from being transmitted into habitable areas.
•It is also used as a means of simplifying construction by allowing a very light simplified high-performance structure to shelter habitable structures of less resilient materials and more freely changed designs -a role particularly well suited to Utilihab.
•It supports the use of unconventional roofing materials that may be much more economical or simpler but are difficult to integrate directly to underlying rigid structures, such as tension roof systems.
•It allows for the creation of ‘greenhouse homes’ where an independent greenhouse structure sheltering a large year-round garden space is used as a space for a home habitat merged with the enclosed garden.
•It can allow large simple roof designs to shelter a complex of varying enclosed and shaded open space layouts, often incorporating the use of translucent roof cladding.
•It can sometimes reconcile elaborate roof designs to a simpler more practical and more freely adapted interior without concern for the interface at the roof line.
•Contemporary designers sometimes employ this simply as a novel design element.
Skybreak roofs tend to take one of three basic forms; either a complete enclosure over an area with a fully independent structure, as with the use of geodesic domes (the original use of the term ‘skybreak’), a free-standing pavilion that is open at the sides, or an integral pavilion where the roof surface is independent of the main structure but may share vertical posts with the habitable structure. Some skybreaks may use completely different structural systems from the habitable structures, particularly in the case of geodesic structure. Utlihab does, however, have its own geodesic variant.
Utilihab supports all these skybreak forms with a simplified form of its basic structures. For fully enclosed skybreaks, it eliminates the usual roof elements of the main building structures and uses its interior finishing components throughout, both along exterior and interior, though favoring somewhat more resilient panel materials for the exterior. Tops of structures can be treated as a walkable floor deck using the same floor elements or, if non-walkable, can be clad in simple rigid insulation panels mounted along one set of light profile parallel beams.
For open-sided skybreaks the habitable structures use more conventional exterior cladding but need only fibercement panels along their top surface, with seams sealed by aluminum tape. These may employ walkable decking using a conventional floor grid, but with a raised floor deck as per walkable decking on membrane based flat roofs.