"What's a portico?"

As a timber frame company we are frequently asked to build timber trusses to support roofs that shelter the front entrances of new cottages. They are known as porticos and for those of you that are unfamiliar with the term, a "portico" is a roof supported by columns that leads to a door. It is an architectural element that dates back to Roman times and is very useful in pointing one to the location of the front door and providing protection from inclement weather as one approaches the door.

An early example of a large portico from antiquity can be found in Rome, at the Pantheon. It was built circa 120AD and is a marvel of Roman engineering. The building is round, has very thick walls, and a hole in the middle of the roof to let in sunlight. The portico over the entrance has a wide stone facade when viewed from the piazza in front and when you enter the portico and look up there is a set of 5 massive king post trusses supporting the roof above. It is on a scale that dwarfs anything that can be seen in North America. I remember staring at the timbers overhead and wondering where they got such large timbers. There wouldn't be a tree in all of Europe that could supply any of these timbers now.

The Romans assembled the timbers in a configuration we now refer to as a "king post truss". It works well, so well in fact that we still use the king post truss design today for our timber porticos. You can recognize it in the iconic bird's foot orientation of struts and rafters that is seen on many gable ends of houses and porticos.
Last week our company stood a king post truss to support a portico for some delighted clients on their newly constructed Lake of Bays home. Like the Pantheon, which is still welcoming visitors through its portico after nearly 2000 years, our clients will have an opportunity to experience the beauty and strength of a similar structural form. Maybe their house will even have a life as long as the Pantheon.
Being "…on the cutting edge of ancient technology" is a standard that Portico Timber Frames upholds.