Architectural shingles (aka Asphalt shingles or Comp) are a great alternative to Wood shake roofing that needs to be replaced, as well as new construction homes.
It is installed over a solid sheathing with a roofing underlayment. There are many brands and styles that are used widely here in our area such as GAF and Certainteed.
The benefits of using Composition shingles are that it is a lightweight product, very walkable (which is nice if you have solar or to get up there and decorate or clean your gutters). It is a low maintainence roof and has a wide variety of pricing. All of the products we use have a Class A fire rating so you can rest assured that you and your home are protected. There is also a lifetime warranty with these shingles so you get the full benefit of having a new roof.