In previous posts, we have talked about the best layout for the house, base on its solar orientation, opportunities for natural ventilation, privacy considerations, engagement of the landscape and relation to the surrounding architectural context. This exploration led to the conclusion that an L-shaped floorplan ‘pointing’ South was the best suited overall.
There are many massing considerations to explore in three-dimensions – an we will start with the roof. A good place to start because the shape of the roof definitely helps determine the architectural character of the building AND because the roof is generally a good place to mount solar panels for generation of electricity and hot water. The roof is high enough to avoid being shaded by the landscape and other buildings (at least in a residential neighborhood), and this space is often unused for other functions (except where green roofs and terraces are part of the program). The panels are also relatively protected from vandalism and theft, which unfortunately can be a consideration even in relatively safe urban neighborhoods. Finally, the panels CAN help shade the roof, reducing the cooling load on the house in the summer (depending on the details of the panel mounting). We shouldn’t rule out some wall-mounted solar panels either, but we’ll get to that later.
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