Spatial Responses to the Solar and Seasonal Cycles

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OVERVIEW: Planning spaces in response to the solar and seasonal cycles requires basic assumptions about users, the time period in which the space will be occupied and the activities that will take place in the spaces.
Assumptions about the appropriate lighting and thermal conditions required by humans influence the spatial strategies.
Different regions of the earth have varying solar conditions; this ultimately changes what the user requirements are.
Site conditions further complicate the issue and make it difficult to establish steadfast rules.
ORIENTATION: Orientation is the alignment of a building with respect to the cardinal points.
There are many ways in which a building can be oriented.
A building's orientation can greatly influence the organization placement of interior spaces and the way in which the faces of the building need to be treated.
Victor and Aladar Olgyay have done extensive research on building orientation and the resulting lighting and thermal conditions that result from varying orientation in different climates.
The diagrams included here are based on some of the Olgyays' studies.
While the diagrams simplify the Olgyay studies, they demonstrate how a building can be oriented to block or receive incoming solar radiation.
ORGANIZATION: This strategy involves combining or grouping spaces according to daylighting and thermal characteristics required by the activity that will take place in these spaces.
In the book Sun, Wind and Light by G.
Z.
Brown the author provides various solar organizational strategies and expands on them with examples.
The basic definition established for this investigation was derived from specific examples presented by Brown.
POSITIONING: This strategy requires placing or situating a space based on the thermal and daylighting characteristics of the activities that will take place.
Positioning is about the specific location of a given space with respect to the overall spatial composition.
AN EXAMPLE OF ORGANIZATION AND POSITION: The Lloyd Lewis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, located in Libertyville, Illinois demonstrates solar responsive organizational and positioning strategies.
The house is long on the east-west axis and has a southern exposure.
Looking specifically at the second level, Wright groups the bedrooms, situating them on the southeast end of the building.
This allows light to enter during the morning hours signifying the start of a new day.
He positions the dinning room in the southwestern section of the building.
This space receives the late afternoon sunlight in the winter, spring and fall.
Since this space serves its primary purpose in the late afternoon and evening, its position allows it to be illuminated by incoming solar radiation.
He positions the sanctuary in the northeastern portion of the building.
If this space receives any direct sunlight it is in the late afternoon during the summer months.
Ambient lighting would be prevalent in this space and it can be assumed that this space would tend to be cooler than the other spaces on the 2nd level.
These conditions represent what a person would want to find in sanctuary or a place of refuge.
SEQUENCING: For the purpose of this investigation sequencing means the changing use or function of a space based on modulation of the seasons.
It means that a space maybe used differently during the winter months as opposed to the summer months.
The assumption is that the pattern of changing use of a space would potentially cause a person to become more aware of the seasonal cycles.
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