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c, \ FUv5HiHq marisara is expanding. The architect responded to this difficult location by designing a four-storey structure which is very compact compared with others in this district. Besides a study and library, the entrance level also includes a large garage. The floor above contains bedrooms and bathrooms while the floor below accommodates the kitchen, dining room and open living room. Below that is a patio with pond and the stairs to the separate guest-house lower down the slope. A central staircase links all levels; with its rounded, projecting landings, it represents an obvious central axis for the whole house. It also marks the centre of the canopy-type open roof construction which, in a grand gesture, opens out in front of the house, providing shade and creating covered areas.

Upon entering, guests experience a gradual process of opening out, lending the house the character of a refuge, luxurious and screened off from the outside world. Little by little the initial enclosing walls and heavy materials like concrete and masonry give way to timber frameworks with wooden panels and finally to the spacious timber ribs of the great canopy roof over the open living room. The intermediate landings of the staircase play a special role in the whole experience; the changing views exploring the surroundings: the open roof construction above, the patio with pond below and the lush landscape beyond.

Structure | Owing to the steeply sloping ground those parts of the building directly on the slope had to be constructed in reinforced concrete. If direct contact with the ground was not possible, then concrete plinths with masonry infills were provided. The 180 x 50 mm joists of the timber floors rest on nibs on concrete beams. Reinforced concrete floors are only used for the garage and rooms where water is used.

The walls of the upper floor are all in classical timber-frame construction: 100 x 50 mm studs at 600 mm centres with 50 mm glass-fibre insulation in the bays, 50 x 25 mm battens as diagonal bracing and clad both sides with 19 mm plasterboard. All roofs are made entirely from chengal, a local species of hardwood. The large, open, canopy-type roof, spanning in a protective gesture majestically over the living room, is of particular interest.

For this roof, 100 x 50 mm rafters fan out from the centre of the staircase tower like the ribs of an umbrella, forming the basic framework visible from below. At the top the rafters are connected via steel plates to a steel collar which is mounted on top of the central reinforced concrete circular column in the staircase. The rafters are supported along their length by 200 x 50 mm purlins at a spacing of max. 3 m, each of which carries three or six rafter bays. These purlins form a polygon around the stairs and are supported on 230 x 230 mm columns at the corners of the polygon. The only means of lateral support to these columns is afforded by 230 x 75 mm horizontal beams between them at ground-floor level, some of which are arranged radially. Purlins and intermediate beams are mortised into the columns in the traditional way. The uppermost purlin (here 100 x ioo mm) is supported by diagonal 100 x 75 mm struts propped against the staircase landing. These diagonal struts, which help to emphasize the umbrella nature, are used again as the only means of support for the smaller circular roof. Above the living room, the canopy-type roof changes to a straight hipped roof with ioo x 50 mm rafters at 460 mm centres, but not without leaving an open triangular clerestory light facing north.

Profiled clay roofing tiles on 50 x 25 mm battens form the roof covering. Underneath is a sisal mat with an aluminium coating to both sides and between the rafters 50 mm glass-fibre insulation on a chicken wire mesh. White-painted chipboard completes the roof construction. Both serve to insulate the house against the heat.

8 | View from below with staircase tower. Left, the balcony to the living room; right, the circular roof over the balcony to the dining room. The polygonal arrangement of the purlins to the umbrella-type roof, and their supports in the form of columns and struts, are clearly visible.

9 | The living room with view to the west.

io | View from patio level through the timber framework of the open roof towards the guest-house and the balcony to the living room, whose open timber balustrading is clad with a strip of roofing.

1 | Overall view of solar-energy house.

2 | The storeys for the 5W1SSBAU '95 solar-energy house were fabricated and erected in sectors resembling "pieces of cake".

Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.

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