Currently Reading

Toronto Home Takes Flight with Dramatic Dragon Scaled Roof

Custom Builder

Toronto Home Takes Flight with Dramatic Dragon Scaled Roof

By Nigel F. Maynard June 3, 2021
a house zinc tile

It took three years for builder and developer Farhad Kaziman to execute the dramatically swooped dragon scaled roof on his custom home in Toronto.

Kazmian, founding partner at ABOND real estate development in Toronto, drew inspiration from the metal-paneled roof designs that are prevalent throughout Europe. He envisioned a curving zinc-tiled roof to crown his custom-built 5,300-square-foot, two-story residence. The project is known as A-House for it’s A-shaped line when viewed from the street, and the roof's undulating, “dragon scale” pattern was brought to reality through the collaborative team that included ABOND Inc., architecture firm Bortolotto, fabricator and installer Alpro Sheet Metal Ltd., and zinc material supplier RHEINZINK America, Inc.

“A-House arrays its program around the front courtyard and plunge pool, empowering a swooping curve to define massing,” Kazmian says. “Subsequently, the front face of the house is split in plan, providing a strong sense of depth to the front elevation, reminiscent of the styles traditional to the site.”

dragon scale roof

Kazmian’s goals in bringing the home’s design to life was both to enjoy it for himself but also to encourage prospective clients to be imaginative in creating their homes. But it wasn’t all about the design. The builder/developer also chose zinc for its practical performance benefits: The product is resilient, sustainable, and can last for decades with minimal maintenance.

With its steeply pitched roof, A-House combines both modern and traditional styles for an eclectic mix that is popular in the Toronto metro area. It uses a palette of natural tones and materials (including glass, wood, brick, and zinc) that complement each other into a seamless application.

“The house pulls inspiration from materials that were found in the typologies of old within Lawrence Park,” Kazmian says. “The house is comprised of wood construction, with moments of articulated heavy timber. To face the building, rift-cut ipe wood is reinterpreted from linear elements to a solid surface, expressing texture of the wood itself. The roof is skinned with zinc tiles perfectly suited to follow the curvaceous shape of structure and built to last.”

dragon tile

RHEINZINK says the zinc roof tiles create a timeless aesthetic with a natural patina and time-tested performance that can last generations. The spec, prePATINA graphite-grey, is specially processed to accelerate the desired appearance of a pre-weathered patina. The zinc material’s natural finish will continue to weather and patina over time, the company says.

All of the company’s products rely on high-grade zinc with trace elements of titanium and copper, RHEINZINK says, adding the products meet the ASTM standard specification B69-16 Architectural Rolled Zinc Type 1 and Type 2.

“The prePATINA graphite-grey has a greenish hue due to the zinc alloy’s copper content that works beautifully with the wood siding on this home,” says Richard Strickland, RHEINZINK’s regional sales manager. “The Type 2 alloy is an excellent choice for a darker natural zinc color, especially on roofs. The zinc roof tile will constantly evolve in its depth, complexity and rich appearance and continue adding texture and character throughout the home’s lifespan.”

With a lifespan of more than 80 years, zinc’s ability to create a protective patina through weathering contribute to the product’s self-healing, low-maintenance, corrosion-resistant performance, the company says. At the end of its useful life on the building’s exterior, it remains 100% recyclable.

dragon scale roof

Arranging RHEINZINK’s diamond flat lock roof tiles into the complicated pattern and shape involved complex geometry. “This double-convex roof concaves 90 degrees, while changing from a 28:12 pitch to a 5:12 pitch, which give it that curving and twisting look,” says Alex Prothmann, Alpro’s CEO and chief estimator.

For three years, Prothmann and his team worked with Kazmian to accomplish the precise look and functionality of A-House’s roof. “ABOND originally sent us pictures of buildings in Europe asking if we could replicate the look of them,” Prothmann explains. “Farhad wanted to mimic the fish-scale pattern of their tiled roofs. It reminded us of the sort of roof pattern you might see on Game of Thrones, so we started calling it ‘dragon scale.’”

“When Farhad came to me with the set of drawings in 2016, I could not wait to sink my teeth into it,” Prothmann continues. “There are not many roofs like it, not to mention contractors with the ability and know-how required to take on a project of this magnitude. I really enjoy my trade and have a knack for taking on jobs that other contractors won’t even consider. Farhad and I clearly have this trait in common.”


Even with premium zinc material, Alpro found fabrication to be one of its biggest challenges on A-House. “All of the tiles were custom sized and cut to achieve the radius look,” Prothmann says. “They change in size as they go up the roof and turn 90 degrees as they go around the roof in a continuous pattern. ABOND was insistent on all the tile edges being factory cut; nothing is hand cut. This provides a much cleaner, better quality edge.”

To help execute the installation, Alpro’s in-house fabrication staff used a jig system and foot shear to custom fabricate RHEINZINK’s 0.8 milleeter prePATINA graphite-grey zinc. “Each tile has six cuts,” Prothmann says. “There are approximately 20,000 tiles in the whole 3,500-square-foot roof. That’s 200 days in the fabrication shop.”

Another challenge in A-House’s roof design was how to direct the water off the roof and to manage snow in the winter. “The gutter system is fairly typical, but the snow guard system is our own design,” Prothmann says. “We used shorter pieces of zinc to follow the curve of the roof. It was approved almost instantly by ABOND because of its design and durability. We used the same zinc materials to avoid reactions between dissimilar metals, as well as to provide an exact color match between the roof, the gutters, and the snow guards.”

After nearly two years of designing, engineering, and planning the fabrication and installation, Prothmann says, “We got to the point of getting the zinc tiles on the roof. After all the upfront work, it was a pretty typical install.”


Project: A-House, Toronto, Ontario (Canada)

Developer, Builder, Interior Designer, Landscape Designer: ABOND Inc.; Toronto;

Architect: Bortolotto, Toronto

Roof Fabricator and Installer: Alpro Sheet Metal Ltd., Angus, Ontario

Manufacturer: RHEINZINK America, Inc, Inc.; Woburn, Mass.

Spec: RHEINZINK prePATINA graphite-grey

Photos: Greg van Riel Photography

Related Stories

Custom Builder

Take Part in Our Annual Housing Forecast

The best way to understand the residential construction industry is to speak with residential construction professionals. And with that being said, we humbly ask for your input in this year's survey

Custom Builder

Merging Ancient Construction With Modern Living

This vacation home pushes the boundaries of traditional log construction techniques and incorporates elegant details elevating this typically rustic building method

Custom Builder

Understanding Your Biggest Competitor

You may not think of yourself as a tour guide, therapist, doctor, marriage counselor, or investment advisor. But those are the skills custom builders need in today's market

Custom Builder

Women at WIRC: Jessica Cargile Talks Business Management and Work/Life Balance

Jessica Cargile owns and operates a custom building company with her husband, a dynamic that requires constant teamwork and an intentional effort to strike a healthy work/life balance 

Custom Builder

How the Zero Energy Ready Home Update Emphasizes Resilience and Decarbonization

ZERH Version 2, released in December of 2022, will boost the efficiency and performance of single-family homes, preparing them for the increasingly oppressive weather

Custom Builder

Making a Home Among the Redwoods

Designing a not-cramped-feeling, three-bedroom home on a tight lot surrounded by protected redwoods was no easy task. But through high ceilings, abundant glazing, and thoughtful spatial detailing, architect Heidi Richardson achieved the improbable. 

Custom Builder

The Power of Stories

At the 2023 Jeff Shore Sales and Marketing Summit, we sat down with author, speaker, trainer, and home building sales expert Ryan Taft to explore his thoughts on storytelling, including its role in successful sales and relationship building

Custom Builder

Building 'Living Architecture'

Master builder Jeff DuBro's novel approach to design and architecture embraces not only how clients intend to live in the home, but also how they intend to live in the surrounding community

Custom Builder

Improve Thermal Performance and Lower Costs

An optimized value engineered approach to framing kills two birds with one stone

Custom Builder

A Historical Fix on a Modern Foursquare

The Foursquare is an American architectural staple, but modern building has removed some of its historic details. Restoration expert Brent Hull uses a hypothetical redesign to illustrate the point 


More in Category