Monday, April 28, 2008

Building to the weather - Part 2 of 7: Creating a sun pocket

Here is the main facade of the Park-McCullough House Carriage Barn.

As I wrote in the previous post, it faces east, away from prevailing winds and into the morning sun. Notice that the door - a huge door wide enough for carriages and horses - is set back. This is partly so that the hay door above is easily accessible for hay wagons - they can be parked underneath and unloaded. The recessed space also protects against the wind and gathers the sun, making a pocket of warmth. Gardeners know that sheltered sunny nook where the first daffodils will bloom; this recessed entry creates a sheltered sunny place for horses and people.

Many buildings have a double entry that functions like an air lock: one enters through a set of doors into a little vestibule, closes those doors, then opens another set of doors to enter the main space. It's a way to keep cold air out of a warm space (and vice versa when there is air-conditioning.)

A double entry on a barn is not practical. Imagine how big the airlock would need to be for a carriage with horses! This recessed entry is a pretty good substitute - the doors can be opened without the wind rushing in, and on a sunny day in winter, heat may even come in.

Here is the whole series:

Part 1 -

Part 2 - How does the carriage house work with the sun to minimize wind chill?

Part 3 - Why bother with a cupola?

Part 4 - Eaves? they're important?

Part 5 - How a floor plan makes a difference:

Part 6 -  A look at how these concepts were used at the Big House:

Part 7 - Shutters:            

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