Incident Light – The Unplanned Element

Incident Light The Unplanned Element

Reflected light from just below the soffit line can afford ample glazing for natural lighting at west walls and offer privacy

Growing up in a tract home in the 1970s in the southern United States, I was exposed primarily to a singular type of architecture. The home I spent the majority of my childhood in was part of a builder designed tract community, the quintessential formulaic American neighborhood with a handful of floor plans scattered about in different orientations with subtle façade variations. Our family home was an attempt to represent the late Medieval Tudor Style complete with a bay window. More distressing was that this 1870’s Victorian creation was placed on the westward wall of a tract home in a hot humid southern climate. The combination of window type and more importantly, orientation, created a space that was intolerable, inefficient and even unsightly. The solution of the day was to coat the window with solar film, a truly hideous and poorly transparent material for the day, never mind that the window was still a bastion of heat transfer due to the unbroken aluminum frame even after this installation. This condition was not peculiar to my home and still is rampant in many homes and apartments encountered 30 years since.  Rarely encountered is sensitivity toward orientation or adaptation of design for solar heat gain.

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