The Green Builder in Little Rock, AR


Home Design / Custom Build / Live in a Green World near Little Rock, AR

Screens can shield or illuminate a home, or both

March 14th, 2010 at 12:23

A rainscreen can be more than an awning or flat layering on your facade.  It can be dynamic!  Using perforated corrugated aluminum, a screen can be diaphomous, turning a house into a lantern.

Diaphonous membrane creates an architectural lanternThese houses face west and want to enjoy the western sunset, but the harsh light of the evening sun prevents a casual view.  No awning over the top of the windows is going to stop the evening sun which is already low in the sky by the time it reaches the western horizon and starts burning heat and light into a building.  Vertical strips of awning might reduce the amount of sun that comes into a window, but only a screen across the entire window will allow view and light.  Imagine placing a sturdy metal screen in front of expensive glass?  This is not an idea that is received well by homeowners.  Yet perforate the metal, and then the eye focuses on the lighter parts of the metal.  When the sun reflects on the metal, the eye sees the metal and no further.  When the lights beyond the metal are brighter than the surface of the metal, then the eye sees right past the holes and the metal which become transparent to the mind.  Its a miracle of the one way mirror on an architectural scale.

The  metal is hot on one side, a cool porch on the otherSeen from the street during the day, the passer by cannot see into the building, but the occupant can see out.  At night, when there is no light on the metal screen, both inside and out can see past the screen, the building becomes light and airy, and building cools.  I like to invite guests to parties starting around 7 pm so that they can see the screen disappear as they approach the building for festivities.

The screen has other functions.  It encloses a welcoming porch.  While the intial steps up to the main living level start on the hot reflective side of the screen, the steps do switchback behin the screen, cooling the visitor and welcoming him into the front porch.  From the chairs in the front porch, pedestrians on the sidewalk in front can be seen and heard without giving away the viewers presence.

The  chairs sit cooly behind the screen

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