How a 60-Degree Roof Can Revolutionize Snow Country Architecture

In the heart of Asahikawa-shi, Hokkaido, where the snow blankets the ground and temperatures can plummet to a chilling -20°C, architectural innovation is not just about aesthetics; it’s a necessity. The ASH House, with its distinctive 60-degree roof, stands as a testament to this innovation, challenging traditional designs and offering a fresh perspective on snow country architecture.

The Science Behind the Slope

The angle of a roof is not just an architectural choice; it’s a calculated decision based on the region’s climate. In areas prone to heavy snowfall, a steeper roof ensures that snow slides off rather than accumulating. This natural shedding reduces the weight and pressure on the structure, preventing potential damage. Beyond structural benefits, a steep slope also offers thermal advantages. Snow, being an insulator, when accumulated on flatter roofs, can trap cold air, leading to increased heating requirements. A 60-degree roof, with its reduced snow accumulation, ensures better thermal performance. The angle also plays a role in maximizing sunlight during the shorter winter days. The slope can be oriented to capture the low winter sun, enhancing natural light within the home and contributing to passive heating. From a construction perspective, while a steeper roof might pose initial challenges, the long-term benefits in terms of reduced maintenance and repair costs make it a viable choice.

Aesthetic Appeal of Steep Roofs

While the functional benefits of a 60-degree roof are evident, its aesthetic appeal cannot be overlooked. Such a design creates a striking silhouette, making the house stand out amidst traditional structures. The interior spaces benefit too. The high ceilings created by the steep slope offer a sense of spaciousness, allowing for innovative design elements like loft spaces or mezzanine levels. The play of light and shadow within the house changes throughout the day, thanks to the unique roof angle. This dynamic interplay adds a touch of drama and character to the living spaces. The roof also offers opportunities for creative exterior design elements, such as extended eaves or innovative gutter systems, further enhancing the home’s visual appeal.

Benefits of 60-Degree Roof in Snow Management

One of the primary challenges in snowy regions is managing the accumulation of snow on structures. A 60-degree roof offers a natural solution to this problem. The steep angle ensures that snow slides off, preventing build-up that can lead to issues like ice dams, leaks, or even structural damage. This natural snow management system reduces the need for manual snow removal, which can be both labor-intensive and risky. Moreover, by preventing snow accumulation, the roof also reduces the risk of icicles forming, which can pose a hazard to residents and passersby. In essence, the 60-degree roof acts as a passive snow management system, enhancing the safety and longevity of the home.

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Innovative Interiors with Sloped Roofs

The benefits of a 60-degree roof extend to the interiors of the home as well. The unique angle creates interesting architectural elements inside. Vaulted ceilings, for instance, can add a sense of grandeur to living spaces. The slope also allows for the addition of skylights, which can flood rooms with natural light, creating warm and inviting spaces. Additionally, the design can accommodate loft spaces or reading nooks, maximizing the use of vertical space. These architectural nuances not only enhance the aesthetics of the home but also its functionality, offering residents unique spaces tailored to their needs.

Future of Architecture with Steep Roof Designs

The ASH House is more than just a home; it’s a statement. A statement that challenges the norms and showcases the possibilities when architects think beyond the conventional. As climate patterns shift and regions experience more extreme weather conditions, the need for adaptive and resilient architecture becomes paramount. The 60-degree roof is not just a solution for today but a vision for the future. By merging form and function, architects can create homes that are not only beautiful but also sustainable and efficient. The ASH House serves as a beacon, illuminating the path forward.


The 60-degree roof of the ASH House is more than just an architectural marvel; it’s a symbol of progress. It showcases how, by understanding nature’s challenges and embracing innovation, architects can revolutionize snow country architecture. As we stand at the cusp of a new era in design, the ASH House serves as a reminder of the endless possibilities that lie ahead.