gambrel roof

In by Mark Goodman

A type of roof whose slope is broken by an obtuse angle so that the lower slope is steeper than the upper slope; a double-sloped roof having two pitches.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
gambrel roof (noun)
a roof with a lower steeper slope and an upper less steep one on each of its two sides - see roof illustration
gambrel roof (Wikipedia)
The first Harvard Hall, Harvard University, credited to be the oldest known example of a gambrel roof in North America, built c. 1677, burned 1766.
A cross-sectional diagram of a mansard roof, which is a hipped gambrel roof

A gambrel or gambrel roof is a usually symmetrical two-sided roof with two slopes on each side. (The usual architectural term in eighteenth-century England and North America was "Dutch roof.") The upper slope is positioned at a shallow angle, while the lower slope is steep. This design provides the advantages of a sloped roof while maximizing headroom inside the building's upper level and shortening what would otherwise be a tall roof. The name comes from the Medieval Latin word gamba, meaning horse's hock or leg. The term gambrel is of American origin, the older, European name being a curb (kerb, kirb) roof. Europeans historically did not distinguish between a gambrel roof and a mansard roof but called both types a mansard. In the United States, various shapes of gambrel roofs are sometimes called Dutch gambrel or Dutch Colonial gambrel with bell-cast eaves, Swedish ~, German ~, English ~ , French ~, or New England gambrel.

The cross-section of a gambrel roof is similar to that of a mansard roof, but a gambrel has vertical gable ends instead of being hipped at the four corners of the building. A gambrel roof overhangs the façade, whereas a mansard normally does not.

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