Shelter and screening

Posted on: 6th February, 2018

Category: Architecture 101

Contributor: Gareth Ryan

Gareth Ryan (MCIAT) is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists. Contact him at 023 8821807 or 087 7444568.

The architectural principle around the use of shelter and screening have a number of characteristics, which affect the design of a house on a site or extension/renovation of a house. The prevailing wind in Ireland is south westerly, which affects the protection of a house in its exposure to the natural environment. Trees, walls and planting can all play a part in minimising the effect of this on a house. Shelter and screening also have a number of different influences on the immediate environment of a house with both the solar gain within a house and privacy for the occupants of a property being impacted.

The prevailing wind being from a south westerly direction would naturally suggest that one should erect trees, walls and planting in this orientated direction from the house. Similar to the principles examined in the last column in this series there are varying abilities to control its impact on a house within the rural or urban settings. Trees have significant benefit for sheltering a house from the wind but, which maybe easier to plant in a rural context, as if they are planted too close to a house they negatively impact on the solar gain, which can be achieved in a house by shading it from the sun. The recommended distance for planting a tree away from a house would be between 60m and 20m for a 15m high tree and for it not to have a negative impact on the mid-range angle of the sun in Ireland during the year. There is also a difference in the advantages for solar gain in a dwelling depending on whether one uses deciduous or conifer trees with the former allowing sun light through the branches when they loose their leaves in the winter and the sun is at a lower angle in the sky. The inclusion of the impact of trees on a dwelling is not always a major concern for those working on the design of a house or renovation/extension of a house especially those in the urban context as the buildings there can have their own constructed screening and shelters by other buildings and walls. In the rural context it should be considered in the design as it will impact the enjoyment of living in a house and within the curtilage of a house.

What can be more of a concern in towns or cities is the element of privacy, which can be achieved by using shelter and screening such as walls and hedgerows. As referred to in the last column of this series hedgerow planting and walls can be used to great advantage to allow for the proper orientation of a house and the rooms within it. Hedgerows in comparison to the length of time that one is going to live in a house do not take long to grow and can be more pleasant on the public side of a house than a block wall and will provide enough privacy with the right selection of plants which can grow to the appropriate height. The orientation of living spaces is more important in my opinion as one cannot change the direction or angle of sunlight reaching the earth while one is easily able to grow plants or build a wall.

I sight my grandparents farm house in its vernacular architectural style again as an example of both using horticultural and man-made features in the manner described above. At this house there are trees planted between 20m and 30m in a south westerly direction away and in line with both the south and west walls of the house in the exact direction of the prevailing wind and which therefore provide shelter for the house and its occupants. The house has also got a lovely feature of an external room with a wall at approximately 4m from the southern face of the house running parallel to the house, approximately 1.1m high, with a gate at both ends which provides a perfect external enclosed courtyard space for external family activities. The builders of this house may have had a couple of other considerations when building this external room as the level of the ground is lower outside of it but it provides a perfect private space which although not in an urban context separates the farm from the dwelling for privacy.      

The next column in this series will follow on from the reference to the shadow created by trees and other buildings around a house, affecting the solar gain in the house, by looking at different types and sizes of windows or doors and the affect the direction in which they are orientated on the building has on their selection.

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This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

Check out this new upbeat indie-folk track Edges, released today from Inni-K with a video by Myles O'Reilly. Inni-K will be performing at Levis’, Ballydehob on Saturday 24th February, with support from Sam Clague.
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16th February, 2018  ·  

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