Letting natural light into interior spaces can truly pay off.
In terms of form, abundant natural light creates a beautiful interior aesthetic, while in terms of function, ample natural light takes a reliance off of electrical lighting and can dramatically warm a space.
This warming effect can, however, be problematic during the summer months in hotter climes.
In order to tackle this issue, solar orientation planning is often used. While it is featured throughout the world, Japanese interior designers and architects have recently demonstrated particular prowess in the practice, creating clever designs that optimise natural lighting, eliminate excess solar gain and fit into the tight property footprints common to Japanese cities and suburbs.
‘Facing True South’ by architectural firm Nakae architects delivers on this kind of design.
Located in the old port town of Kanaishi, the dwelling has been designed in a way that considers solar orientation down to the millimetre, with the results garnering intense sunlight penetration into the building only after a specific day – August 24– each year.
One key to achieving this is the implementation of clerestory windows. Solar angle studies were undertaken to determine what the exact angles and tilt of the windows should be to enable maximum solar gain in winter and eliminate it in summer. Another key comes in the implementation of the building’s large roof, commonplace in the location, which is used to protect the building from a wide range of elements, including snow and excessive heat, while offering to work with the angles of the windows to offer some shading.
The rooftop grooves drop into deep eaves, which also offer to further protect the building from direct solar gain.
Offering to further naturally control interior temperatures is a natural ventilation system that recirculates air.
The Japanese industry is leading the way when it comes to optimising small land blocks efficiently and cleverly. Through considered architecture, living comfortably off grid – especially when it comes to heating, cooling and day lighting – is an easily achievable goal, as is being exemplified again and again in this particular market.