When it comes to sustainable architecture, there are few precepts as simple and at the same time essential as a building’s orientation. In a place like Japan that means buildings should have most of their glazing facing south maximize solar gain in winter and also minimize it in summer.
Nakae Architects have paid so much attention directional orientation in a new project that they named it “Facing True South. ” The house is located in Kanaishi, an old port near Kanazawa city. While the house is modern, it takes inspiration from the black shingle tiles and sun washed cedar cladding traditional in the area. Peaked roofs with large overhangs are favored here to help deal with large amounts of precipitation and high temperatures of summer. This however results in dim interiors. The architects have gotten the best of both worlds by cutting two long clerestory out of the folded roof. These windows are oriented directly south and so shield the interior from direct sunlight through summer all the way to August 24th, and let it in in winter. The interior of this 2 storey house is open allowing for natural ventilation, and with the help of a covered porch and duct fans the interior temperature is kept comfortable. The dramatic angles seen in the clerestory windows are repeated in the interior floor plan. The house feels a lot like an outdoor space covered with a canopy, a sensation further emphasized by the windows and the framed slices of sky they display.
Nakae Architects get everything right in “Facing True South,” creatinga house responsive to its environment, and with all that natural light its owners must be all smiles.