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Your Dream Home – Following the Sun

28.01.21

You have always dreamed about an ideal house of your own. Not just some shelter from the elements, but a place where everything is arranged, looks and works exactly for you, where you can relax and experience harmony – in other words, a place you can call Your Home.

Alexander Rakita, founder of London’s AR Architecture, explores what makes a house a Home.

In the UK climate, sunlight and daylight are invaluable assets. When you just start planning your new home, think where you need sunlight most, and at what time. The breakfast area would benefit from it in the morning (South-East orientation), whereas a West-facing dining room may look great in the evening. If you like waking up to the first rays of rising sun, locate your bedroom on the Eastern side of the building. Same rules apply to the zoning of the garden.

Whereas plenty of daylight is welcome in most parts of the house, direct sunlight may be undesirable in some areas: it would create a glare on the screens in a study or a TV room, and large windows overlooking scenic exterior views may cause severe overheating if exposed to direct sun. These spaces should ideally face North or North-West; if this is not possible, they can be sheltered by overhanging façade features.

What if your house is oriented in a “wrong” way or has such a deep plan that no daylight reaches its core? This problem can be resolved with design. Appropriately oriented skylights or a cleverly shaped roof are capable of capturing the last rays of evening sun and bringing them into a North-facing space. A fish tank is an attractive feature on its own, but it can also be used to illuminate an inner room through another one. For dark spaces in the basement, there is a technology called “sun tunnel” – mirrored pipes conveying sunlight from faceted optical domes on the roof into the depth of the building. If your garden is hopelessly dark, consider creating a roof terrace (in some cases this may not be possible due to planning regulations).

The rooms that do not require daylight at all – a home cinema, a wine storage, etc. – are usually located in the basement. The gym can also be there if the owner mostly uses it in the evening; early birds would prefer exercising in a sunlit conservatory. The spa block is commonly concealed in the depth of a town residence; in a country house it would rather be connected to the garden, while maintaining a degree of privacy.

Learn more about AR Architecture here: ar-arch.co.uk

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