Movable Shading Structures

movable shading structures

A house can be cooled in two ways. You can try to get rid of the incoming solar heat using air conditioning. Or you can try to prevent the sun from entering the house. The last option can be achieved by movable shading structures. The French house on the picture was built in 2009 by Karawitz Architecture.

Its shuttered bamboo skin can be used to keep the sun out in summer. The shutters can be opened in winter, exposing the large south-facing windows. The house, which stands in Bessancourt (not far from Paris), has no active heating or cooling system. Info + pictures. Via Build it solar. Thanks to Paul Nash.

Related: Window orientation and shading.

Window Orientation and Shading

window orientation and shading

“In sunny southern locations, protecting your windows from the sun is an important component of good window management. The first step is to know how the sun moves through the sky and to orient the building and place the windows in it so as to minimize direct solar admission through your windows.” Read more.

“Sustainable By Design provides a suite of shareware design tools to calculate the right dimensions and placing for your specific location, wherever you are.

  • SunAngle: our premier tool for solar angle calculations.
  • SunPosition: calculates a time series of basic solar angle data.
  • Sol Path: visualization of the path of the sun across the sky.
  • Window Overhang Design: visualization of the shade provided by a window overhang at a given time.
  • Window Overhang Annual Analysis: visualization of window overhang shading performance for an entire year.
  • Overhang Recommendations: suggested climate-specific dimensions for south-facing window overhangs
  • Light penetration: visualization of the penetration of sunlight into a room
  • Louver Shading: visualization of louvered shading system performance for an entire year.
  • Vertical Fin Shading: visualization of a vertical fin shading system performance for an entire year
  • Window Heat Gain: calculation of monthly heat gain through windows.
  • Panel Shading: visualization of the shading of rows of flat panel collectors throughout the year.”

Interesting follow-up at Treehugger.

Low-tech Vertical Garden in Ibiza, Spain

lowtech vertical garden ibiza

Jardín vertical low-tech en Ibiza” by Spanish architects Urbanarbolismo. The garden acts as a sound barrier between a club’s outdoor central courtyard and nearby appartments. The ceramic elements – used as a planting medium – are placed so that irrigation water can easily enter from above. No automated irrigation systems are required. Urbanarbolismo makes use of local plant varieties.

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Innovation & Tradition: The Complete Works of Hassan Fathy Online

Hassan fathy 8 “Since antiquity, man has reacted to his environment, using his faculties to develop techniques and technologies, whether to bake bread or make brick, in such internal psychological balance with nature that humanity historically lived attuned to the environment. Man’s creations were natural when built of the materials offered by the landscape. Learning to manipulate clay, stone, marble, and wood, man penetrated their properties, and his techniques gave expression to his aspirations toward the divine. In architecture, environmental harmony was known to the Chinese, the Indians, the Greeks, and others. It produced the temples of Karnak, the great mosques of Islam, and the cathedral of Chartres in France.”

Hassan fathy 5 “With the advent of the industrial revolution, the inherited techniques and perfected knowledge of creating, using handmade tools, were lost and are now forgotten. Energy-intensive mechanized tools have diminished man’s personal, cellular contribution to the fabrication of objects, the building of structures, and the growing of food. The lesser the challenge for man to imprint his genius, the less artistic is the product. The resulting economic and political disturbances are visible today. Production of beauty, once the prerogative of millions, is replaced by industrialization, even of bread, under the control of a minority of owners. The negative consequences of the industrial revolution have disturbed the natural organization of the divine concept for humanity.”

Hassan fathy 2 “Sixty years of experience have shown me that industrialization and mechanization of the building trade have caused vast changes in building methods with varying applications in different parts of the world. Constant upheaval results when industrially developed societies weaken the craft-developed cultures through increased communications. As they interact, mutations create societal and ecological imbalance and economic inequities which are documented to be increasing in type and number. Profoundly affected is the mass of the population, which is pressured to consume industrially produced goods. The result is cultural, psychological, moral, and material havoc.”

Hassan fathy 7 “Yet it is this population that has an intimate knowledge of how to live in harmony with the local environment. Thousands of years of accumulated expertise has led to the development of economic building methods using locally available materials, climatization using energy derived from the local natural environment, and an arrangement of living and working spaces in consonance with their social requirements. This has been accomplished within the context of an architecture that has reached a very high degree of artistic expression.”

Hassan fathy 1 Quoted from: “Architecture and environment” by Hassan Fathy, a noted Egyptian architect who pioneered appropriate technology for building in Egypt, especially by working to re-establish the use of mud brick (or adobe) and traditional as opposed to western building designs and lay-outs.

Fathy demonstrated how elements from vernacular Arab urban architecture, such as the malkaf (wind catch), shukshaykha (lantern dome) and mashrabiya (wooden lattice screen), could be combined with the mud-brick construction traditionally practiced in Nubia in Upper Egypt to form a distinctive, environmentally and socially conscious building style that linked the use of appropriate technologies with co-operative construction techniques and the guiding thread of tradition (source).

All his wonderfully illustrated books can be found online, free to download (in English, French & Arabic). Via TECTONICAblog (Thank you, Zeltia).

The Blackfoot Indians

6a00e0099229e888330147e0f2647d970b-500wi More than 1,400 Walter McClintock glass lantern slides at the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

“Pittsburgh native Walter McClintock graduated from Yale in 1891. In 1896 he traveled west as a photographer for a federal commission investigating national forests. McClintock became friends with the expedition’s Blackfoot Indian scout, William Jackson or Siksikakoan. When the commission completed its field work, Jackson introduced McClintock to the Blackfoot community of northwestern Montana. Over the next twenty years, supported by the Blackfoot elder Mad Wolf, McClintock made several thousand photographs of the Blackfoot, their homelands, their material culture, and their ceremonies. Like his contemporary, the photographer Edward Curtis, McClintock believed that Indian communities were undergoing swift, dramatic transformations that might obliterate their traditional culture. He sought to create a record of a life-way that might disappear. He wrote books, mounted photographic exhibitions, and delivered numerous public lectures about the Blackfoot.”

Below some pictures of their homes.

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The Changing Rural Habitat

Rural habitatThe changing rural habitat, volume one: case studies” & “The changing rural habitat, volume two: background papers“, Brian Brace Taylor, 1982.