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The Butterfly Roof


Mid-Century Elegance in Modern Day Design


There’s no doubt that one of the most distinct characteristics of a Stillwater home is the elegant butterfly roof. The origin of this design element dates back to the early 1930s and yet, it remains a prominent feature of modern architecture today.


The original design of the butterfly roof was created by Swiss architect, Le Corbusier, in 1930 as part of a commissioned vacation home to be built in Zapallar, Chile. The home was for heiress, Eugenia Errazuriz, a grand patroness of the avant-garde and good friend of Picasso.


Set on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, the home was to display Le Corbusier’s trademark mix of organic design and modern innovation. “The broad, off-center V-shaped roof would resemble a butterfly in mid-flight. Where the two wings met about one-third of the way along the home, a gully formed, from which the large, winged expanses swept upward. This striking design was a distinctive departure from the flat roofs that had become characteristic of the 1920s.”


Unfortunately, Le Corbusier’s design was never realized when Errazuriz’s lifestyle left her bankrupt. It would be three years later that Czech architect, Antonin Raymond, built Corbusier’s design for his own home in Japan.



American architect Marcel Breuer then brought the butterfly roof to America in 1945 with his design for the Geller House on Long Island. Since then, many architects have used butterfly roofs for their eye-catching angles and eco-friendly properties, which include the ability to collect rainwater and incorporate larger windows.



A Stillwater home takes inspiration from these exceptional architects. Our soaring butterfly roof is an artistic representation of the mid-century modernist spirit. Its elegance provides a distinct contemporary presence with a nod to the past.



Sources: (1) Marni Epstein-Mervis, “Curbed” https://la.curbed.com/2014/12/24/10009160/le-corbusiers-forgotten-invention-socals-iconic-butterfly-roof-1

(2) Elizabeth Stamp, “Architectural Digest” https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/why-top-architects-love-butterfly-roofs

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