Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Building to the weather - Bennington, VT, #1

in this case, PLANTING to the weather
a post for the summer solstice

Here are 2 pictures of the same house. The first was taken in April, the second in June.
Note the absence of shade in April, its presence in June.
The house was build around 1765 in southern Vermont. The trees were planted around the same time.

In the spring, when the warmth of the sun shining through the windows into the house is so welcome, the trees are just beginning to bud. By June, the trees have leafed out shielding the house from the hot sun. They will protect the house though October. Late fall and through winter, the sun will once again be able to warm the house.
Not only do the trees keep the sun off the house, they create a micro-climate. In their shade the air temperature will be about 10* cooler than out in the sun. This temperature change also creates a breeze, always welcome on a hot day.

In lower latitudes, the path of the sun across the sky is different. The east and west elevations are the ones which need trees for shade, while a roof overhang is enough to shade the south facade.

Each climate has its own ways to shelter from the sun. For me one of the pleasures of traveling is watching how a particular part of the world builds, and plants, to its particular climate.

When I wrote- on this blog - about the Park-McCullough House Carriage Barn, I hoped to explain to a modern audience this basic knowledge about climate that our ancestors took for granted. I thought using a building everyone could visit (as it was open to the public) would make the ideas more accessible: you could go look for yourself. I found instead that readers thought only rich people who hired architects built to the weather. 

This time my illustrations are ordinary, vernacular buildings.