The iconic Mid-Century butterfly roof embodies the form follows function principle of modern architecture. Its breezy silhouette has a definitely modernist space-age personality; but the style isn’t all beauty and no brains. The inverted gable roof has a few eco-friendly traits that include rooflines open to allow natural light flow inside and the valley formed where the wings meet concentrates rainwater. Put a couple of barrels under the “V” and you’ve got a rainwater collection system. (Especially attractive right now in drought stricken California!)
While other architects dabbled with the butterfly roof concept, it was pretty much a custom home feature until architect William Krisel introduced it to Palm Springs in the late 1950s – and the rest is SoCal history. The butterfly roof took flight until there were thousands of butterfly homes dotting the landscape from Palm Springs to the Pacific Ocean and San Diego to the San Fernando Valley.
Joseph Eichler even gave butterfly roofs a passing glance and built a handful of the homes in Sunnyvale and Menlo Park. Although Eichler never took much of a liking to them, Jones & Emmons and Anshen + Allen, two architectural firms Eichler worked with, loved them.
Today sleek, stylized butterfly roofs are still popular – and the public is being offered the opportunity to tour a contemporary LEED-Platinum, Net Zero Energy, butterfly-roofed home as part of the 2015 San Francisco Living celebration. On September 27, 2015 guests will meet the design team of Aidlin Darling Design at the House of Earth & Sky in Hillsborough to learn more about the home as well as take a tour. For more information visit 2015 SF Living: Home Tours.