Why is the single most important design principle so easily overlooked and undervalued by so many owners, architects, and architectural design professionals?
Why is it so.?
Is it a lack of care, understanding, conflicting requirements or just overlooked due to other design considerations?
The answer? All the above, it seems.
Clients, designers, and architects often send us architectural drawings to price. Of those we see around 80% ignore the North orientation design principle! When we question the omission of the North aspect, it’s always due to such considerations as the view is not North or there is a boundary too close to North, or there is an ugly view to the North or some aesthetic reason.
Clearly, such answers arise out of an ignorance of the importance of the north aspect, put simply it’s overlooked or ignored. To orient a house to the north need not compromise any of the said considerations for its omission. Regardless of design or view considerations, it should always be possible to maximise the opportunity for windows to the north. High light windows, roofed windows, light wells and screens are all solutions for maximising fenestration to the north.
So why is lots of North-facing glass so important?
1. To achieve light, bright and comfortable ambiance
Any north-facing window will capture sunlight for the entire day. Nothing like sitting in a north-facing lounge in winter enjoying the light and warmth of a sunny day.
Or in summer enjoying the light without the heat.
2. Free (passive) energy.
Artificial lighting is only required at night, due to an abundance of natural light. Less heating is required in winter, as the low sun angle warms the glass and floor. In summer the sun is overhead, not warming the glass, if an eave is provided.
Current 6 Star energy-efficient design requirements are much easier to achieve with a northerly orientation. If you are building/designing a house without northerly orientation you are short-changing yourself, your clients, and sustainable architecture.
At Capital building, we always incorporate the northerly aspect and as many efficiency principles into our designs as we can. We invite you to talk to us about designing your next extension or new home accordingly.