Re-Roofing a "Roofless" Church

The visual centerpiece of Philip Johnson's Roofless Church in Indiana is a swooping dome that covers the altar. For the crew that tore off and replaced the original cedar roof last year, its unique shape gave new meaning to the expression "go with the flow."

The roofers beveled the edges of opposing shingles that met in the valley bottoms. As each course advanced on a rising curved line out of the valley, the shingle butts were angled to the left or the right as required; the angle decreased from the valleys to the peaks of the lobes. Exposures decreased from the bottom of the structure to the top.

After following the complex layout and cutting all 24,000 replacement shingles with a chop saw on a boom-lift platform, the roofers found the actual hand-nailing to be the easy part. "The goal was to get it right," says contractor Jeff Koester, "not to see how fast we could do it."  

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