Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is used to gain insight in the aerodynamic performance of a venturi-shaped roof (called VENTEC roof). The simulations are performed with the 3D steady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations and the Renormalisation Group k-epsilon model. A detailed analysis is conducted of the influence of the so-called venturi-effect and the wind-blocking effect on the aerodynamic performance of the VENTEC roof. The specific roof configuration is intended to create a negative pressure in the narrowest roof section (contraction) which can be used to partly or completely drive the natural ventilation of the building zones. The CFD simulations are based on a detailed grid-sensitivity analysis and on successful validation of the grid-independent results by comparison with experiments in an atmospheric boundary layer wind tunnel. The simulations show that the aerodynamic performance of the roof is governed by the balance between the so-called venturi-effect on the one hand and the wind-blocking effect on the other hand. The venturi-effect cannot act to its full extent because the flow is non-confined. The wind-blocking effect refers to the effect of the resistance exerted by the roof contraction on the air flow and the resulting tendency of the approaching wind to flow around and over the roof, rather than only being forced through the roof contraction. The results indicate that because of the wind-blocking effect, the highest contraction ratio does not provide the best aerodynamic performance and the largest negative pressure, which is a counter-intuitive result. The paper also provides a parametric analysis to optimise the roof contraction height and contraction ratio. The study in this paper illustrates the use of CFD to increase insight in building aerodynamics and to support sustainable building design. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.