Few buildings will be structurally and socially intact, unless the floors step down toward the ends of wings, and unless the roof, accordingly, forms a cascade.
Visualize the whole building, or building complex, as a system of roofs.
Place the largest, highest, and widest roofs over those parts of the building which are most significant: when you come to lay the roofs out in detail, you will be able to make all lesser roofs cascade off these large roofs and form a stable self-buttressing system, which is congruent with the hierarchy of social spaces underneath the roofs.
From pattern 116 in A Pattern Language
Photo: Ivar Leidus