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Title: Orienting the House - A Study of the Placing of the House with Relation to the Sun's Rays
Author: Association, American Face Brick
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Orienting the House - A Study of the Placing of the House with Relation to the Sun's Rays" ***

                        _A study of the placing
                           of the house with
                            relation to the
                              sun’s rays_


                       _Price Twenty-five Cents_

                        130 North Wells Street

© 1922. Eben Rodgers, President, A. F. B. A.


  Detail of Residence, Sheridan Road, Chicago, Illinois
  Walter Miller, Architect]

In selecting a home site, there are a number of very important things
to be considered. When once you settle the point of convenient
accessibility to your work or place of business, you doubtless think
first of the neighborhood in which you and your family are going to
live, the kind of people about you, the church, school, and library
privileges, and such like questions.

Then you will consider the physical character of the place, its slopes
and levels, its trees, its gardens, its outlook, or, in a word, its
attractiveness from an aesthetic point of view; to which are closely
related the practical questions of pure water supply, good drainage,
and shelter from the extremes of weather. No matter how attractive
otherwise a locality might be, you would not consider it for a moment
unless the conditions of sanitation and healthfulness were fully met;
and you would want some natural protection from the severe storms of
winter as well as from the blazing heat of summer. In the winter you
would want as little breeze and as much sun, and in the summer as
little sun and as much breeze as possible.

Finally, in selecting your site, it would be well to have in mind the
house you intend to build and the way you want it to face. If possible,
get your house plan first and select your lot accordingly. Or, at any
rate, picture it all out in your mind to guide you in selecting your
location. By a little planning and forethought you may not only secure
the outlook you want but the exposures to sun or breeze most desired.
You cannot change climatic conditions or topography, but, to an
appreciable extent, you can adjust the location of your house to them.

The Orientation Chart, here given, shows the points of sunrise and
sunset, on the horizon, midsummer and midwinter, as well as the
direction of the sunlight each successive hour of the midsummer and
midwinter day. The chart will thus aid you, so far as conditions
permit, in facing your house so as to get the sun or shade where you
want it.

[Illustration: _Orientation Chart_

  © 1922. Eben Rodgers, President, A. F. B. A.

  _Issued by_ American Face Brick Association

  ――it Pays

  130 North Wells Street, Chicago, Ill.]

Chart to be used in connection with text of booklet, “Orienting the

In the first place, you see three broad, concentric circles, on the
outside of which the rising and setting sun is depicted for both
midsummer and midwinter day. The figures, 30°–50°, alongside of the sun
represent degrees of north latitude, wherever you may happen to live,
which, with the exception of most of Florida and southern Texas, cover
the United States. The short arrows show the direction of the sun’s
rays at sunrise and sunset.


  Garden Side of Residence, Westbury, L. I.
  Peabody, Wilson & Brown, Architects]

The inner circle represents your horizon, and the degrees marked upon
it show the points of sunrise and sunset, north or south of the direct
east and west line. These angular distances, in terms of degrees, are
called amplitudes, north or south, and must not be confused with the
degrees of latitude on the earth’s surface, indicated by the numbers
along side of the sun, though intimately dependent upon them. The
amplitude of the horizon point, where the sun rises and sets from
time to time during the year, always depends upon the latitude on the
earth’s surface where you happen to live, as may be seen by following
with your eye the direction of the arrows of latitude through the
amplitude circle. Starting from the number indicating the latitude
where you live, trace the arrow until it touches the amplitude circle.
You can then read the degree on it which shows how far north or south
of the east and west line the sun rises or sets. We are indebted to
Professor Philip Fox, of the Dearborn Astronomical Observatory at
Evanston, Illinois, for determining these points.

The two outer circles are sun-dials for midsummer and midwinter day at
the 40th degree of north latitude; and, if you imagined them pivoted
on their rising and setting points and tipped up from the south to
represent the slanting path of the sun during the day, they show the
direction from which the sun is shining during successive hours of the
day (or night on the other side of the world). The shaded portions of
these circles represent night, which for all northern latitudes is
short in summer and long in winter, as the day is short in winter and
long in summer. If you examine the hour spaces on the winter dial of
your winter night, you will find them exactly like those on the summer
dial of your summer day. So also your winter day hours are spaced like
your summer night hours. South of the equator, people have precisely
the same experiences only in the reverse order. New Zealanders, we
fancy, wear straw hats in January and fur caps in July. If you liked
summer well enough and cared to move, you could live in a perpetual
summer on our little globe. It is probable, however, that, like most
people, you rather prefer the change of seasons, in spite of occasional

The irregular hour spaces on the dials would make it appear that the
sun moves around the earth in a sort of jerky way. On the contrary, it
moves, or rather the earth rotates, at an absolutely uniform rate, but
the tilt of the sun’s path to your horizon line gives you at certain
points a fore-shortened view by which the sun seems to cover various
distances at various stages of its course.

The sun-dial time is used on our chart as it more universally applies
at different meridians on a given latitude, than does our standard time
which, for the sake of timepiece uniformity, is a compromise based on
mean solar time. As the earth’s orbit is such as to make the sun gain
a little or lose a little in crossing the meridian each day during
the year, the total _annual_ time of the sun is averaged into uniform
_daily_ periods, which in turn are divided into 24 uniform hours and
referred to certain meridians the world round, about an hour apart.
To show the exact position of the sun in strict agreement with these
standardized hours would require a special chart for every degree of
longitude, and then be of no especial value for our present purpose;
for while the astronomer must have exact time to the fraction of a
second, the differences between watch and sun-dial are not enough at
any time to affect essentially our problem. So that, if you do not
find the hours marked on our summer and winter sun-dials, at any time,
exactly agreeing with your watch, you may, nevertheless, trust them to
show you accurately enough from what direction the sun is shining at
different hours of the day.


  Residence, St. Paul, Minnesota      James Alan MacLeod, Architect]

The chart is drawn for midsummer and midwinter day on the 40th degree
of north latitude, which is taken as the best average line that runs
midway of the country from ocean to ocean, passing through or near New
York City (N); Philadelphia, Pa; Columbus and Cincinnati (S), Ohio;
Indianapolis, Ind. (S); Springfield, Ill. (S); St. Louis and Kansas
City, Mo. (S); the northern boundary of Kansas; Denver, Colo. (S); Salt
Lake City, Utah (N); Carson City, Nev. (S); and Sacramento, Calif. (S).
With the exception of St. Louis and Sacramento, which are something
over a degree south of this line, all of these places are either on it
or within less than a degree of it, north or south.


  Residence, Buffalo, New York      Edw. Henrich, Architect]

You will see, as drawn on the chart, how the sun’s rays morning
and evening, summer and winter, are indicated streaming out in the
direction of the latitude arrows marked 40°. If you live on or near
any of the other degrees of latitude, indicated by the other arrows,
imagine the center of the sun slipped up or down to that point, and
then trace the rays lightly with a soft pencil across the chart in
lines parallel with the respective arrows.

[Illustration: “Home of Beauty,” Design 101, Rear View]

Of course, if you make any change, all four suns must be moved in a
corresponding way, for you will observe how beautifully symmetrical
the chart is. For any given northern latitude, the midsummer sun rises
and sets _north_ of due east and west at exactly corresponding points
on the eastern and western horizons, and these points in turn exactly
correspond, six months later, with those for midwinter day _south_ of
due east and west.

And this exact correspondence east and west, for the day, and north
and south, for the season, will obtain for any day in the year, or
for any place you take on the earth’s surface. Of course, it must be
noted that the time of rising and setting will change with every new
position taken. If you draw the midsummer sun down and the midwinter
sun correspondingly up until they coalesce at “E” and “W,” you have the
equinoxes about March 21st and September 21st, with the sun rising and
setting due east and west, and equal day and night in any part of the
world except the poles.


  Residence, Highland Park, Illinois      N. Max Dunning, Architect]

Living where you do, somewhere between 30° and 50° north latitude, the
sun, summer or winter, will never pass overhead at noon but shine on
a slant from the south, very much more in winter than summer. This
slant of the sun, however, will not concern you practically so much
in placing your house, as will the time and direction of sunrise at
the extremes of June and December, and the position of the sun the
successive hours of the day, at those times of the year.

You have certain rooms in which you especially want the sun, morning or
afternoon; or a porch you want as much in the shade as possible, let us
say. In tracing the direction of the sun’s rays, do not think of them
as converging or as spreading out. Think of them rather as coming in
great, broad, parallel bands so that no matter how large your house may
be, the moment one side gets the sun, the opposite parallel side falls
into shade. The broad band of parallel lines streaming from the sun, as
seen on the chart, is meant to illustrate this.

Now cut a piece of light cardboard in the shape of your house, at a
greatly reduced scale, with all its porches and projections, as, for
example, the blank form on the chart. Attach it with a pin at the
center of the chart, so it may be easily turned. First place your house
facing directly east. You will see on midsummer day that the north and
east elevations will get the first morning sun. About 8 o’clock the sun
will leave the north side and begin to illuminate the south elevation.
At noon, the sun will pass from the east to the west side of the house,
and then, at 4 o’clock, leave the south and creep back to the north
side of the house, shining on west and north sides from then on until
its setting between 7 and 8 o’clock in the evening.


  Residence, Glencoe, Illinois      Robert E. Seyfarth, Architect]

At the opposite season of the year, that is, in midwinter, your house,
still faced directly east, will have the first sun between 7 and 8
o’clock in the morning on the east and south sides. At noon, the east
side will be deserted for the west, and from then on the south and
west sides of the house will have the sun until its setting between 4
and 5 o’clock. Thus, in the winter, the north side of your house will
get no sun at all. This would hardly be a good place for the kitchen,
though it would be well enough in the summer, as the sun would be out
of it by 8 o’clock in the morning and not return until 4 o’clock in the
afternoon when its rays are shorn of much of their midday strength. You
know, of course, that during the changing seasons or the changing hours
of the day, the sun’s warmth depends largely on the slant of its rays.
In the summer, the north side would be a good place for a shady porch
most of the day. However, the east side of the house would give you a
shady porch from noon till sunset. But a porch around the northeast
corner would give you shade from 8 o’clock in the morning clear through
the day until sunset.

By turning your house one way or another from this direct east and
west position, you can see what modifications of sun and shade you
get. Suppose you turn it northeast, almost facing the morning sun on
midsummer day. The front of the house would directly get the rising
sun between 4 and 5 o’clock in the morning. At 6 o’clock, the south
front would come into the sunlight. At half-past 10 o’clock, the east
front would fall into shade for the rest of the day, while the west
front would begin to catch the sun. By 2:30 o’clock in the afternoon,
the south side would be in the shade for the rest of the day and the
north side would get the sun from then on till sunset, between 7 and 8
o’clock. A porch on the east front of this house would be in the shade
all the summer day after half-past 10 o’clock. But, in the winter, it
would not be so fortunate as the house faced to the cardinal points,
for, as just indicated, it would get the sun only on two sides all day
long; and yet the summer advantages might more than compensate. Try
slighter turns than those suggested, and you may get just the result
you want for a given room or porch.

The placing of your house for the sun is really a problem of settling
on the rooms or porches you want favored, and then letting the other
portions of the house take care of themselves. In determining these
questions of sun and shade on your house, due consideration must be
given to neighboring structures, trees, or portions of the house that
might otherwise get the sun if it were not for certain extensions,
such as bays, porches, L’s, and the like. Of course, nearby hills or
mountains would have a marked effect on just when you got the sun in
the morning or lose it in the evening, no matter where or when the sun
really rose and set.


  Bungalow, New Orleans      Nathan Kohlman, Architect]

As already suggested, if you live on or near any of the other degrees
of north latitude marked, imagine the center of the suns slipped
around to that degree, and then draw light pencil lines across the
chart parallel with the respective arrows. Do the same also for other
parts of the year than the solstices which are shown here. For each
succeeding month, move the center of the suns down and up from the
solsticial points about a third of the distance to “E.” At “E” the sun
has reached either equinox and will rise directly in the east and set
directly in the west. Remember that for several days on either side of
a given position of the sun, there will be no essential change in the
direction of its rays that you need practically to consider.

But at the times, other than the solstices, while you can thus get
the direction of the rising and setting sun, the sun-dial of our
chart won’t exactly apply. What happens is that as the sun moves down
or up from the solstice to the equinox, the summer hour spaces grow
more uniform, while the winter hours grow somewhat longer. But with
the general direction of the morning and afternoon light settled for
the two solsticial extremes, the hour position of the sun during the
between seasons will not be of so much importance.

Of course, you can’t have everything in this world exactly your own
way, but by studying carefully the Orientation Chart in connection
with your plans for building a home, you may get many valuable hints
for selecting your lot and locating your house which will lead to
arrangement of lasting satisfaction to you in the coziness, comfort,
and attractiveness of your home. A sunny corner or a shady spot, where
you need it and when you need it, may cure an invalid or develop a
poet, as the case may be and as the years go on.

                  _The Right Kind of House to Orient_

Before you have the problem of orienting your home, you have the more
important problem of deciding on the kind of home you intend to build.
It is one of the most, if not the most, important question you have to

In the first place, it is an economic question, for you want to be sure
of getting value received for the money you expend. To do so, the house
you build must, aside from its satisfactory design, be permanent; it
must be easily and economically maintained; it must be comfortable and
safe against fire; and it must be attractive. In a word, it must give
you satisfaction in every way, inasmuch as you and your family are
going to be in it a long time; or, if circumstances compel you to move,
you want the house to make a persuasively attractive appeal to the
intending renter or purchaser.

Such a house you can build of brick, the endurance of which has been
demonstrated through thousands of years. “By frost, nor fire, nor
flood, nor even time are well burned clays destroyed.” This permanence
of brick construction means a saving on insurance rates, on upkeep, and
on depreciation, while the material lends itself to the most beautiful
and varied artistic effects. “Strength and beauty,” the essential
characteristics of all good building, may be fully met in brick

If you have not already seen _The Story of Brick_, you should send for
a copy, as you will find in it many valuable suggestions.

                        130 North Wells Street

                                 Rogers & Company, Chicago and New York

[Illustration: backcover]

 Transcriber’s Notes:

 ――Text in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).

 ――Obvious printer’s, punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were
   silently corrected.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Orienting the House - A Study of the Placing of the House with Relation to the Sun's Rays" ***

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