Warm air rises and cool air sinks. Upper storeys receive heat not only from windows and deck doorways, but from warm air rising up from the floors below. This combination makes rooms, apartments and offices warmer on the second floor than rooms on the first floor. That means it also takes more power – more fans and more air-conditioning to cool upper floor rooms.
Newcomers to the Southwest deserts learn very quickly what those who have always lived here know. The air is dry, the land is dry, everything that grows in the desert is sharp as a knife and equipped with spines, thorns and sharp edges. The sun is blazing hot and in changing seasons, the weather comes in fast and hard with crazy winds, hail and torrential rains. They also learn that they will spend a great deal more time outdoors because the land and skies are so spectacular and the views are extraordinary.
The average business park or commercial structure tends to present a uniform look designed to accommodate and appeal to a variety of tenants. While the installation of fixtures and the ability to make modifications to the interior is of vital importance to a tenant, it is also just as important to apply changes to the exterior of the building, to windows and entryways specifically to visually define the space for customers and clients.
If you have an outdoor seating area to serve customers that can be tricky some of the time, most of the time, or all of the time you can offset those weather problems with an enclosure. Wind, rain, sleet and snow, even heat can be deflected with fabric walls. The addition of heat lamps in the winter months or removing sections in summer months will allow for virtually year round use of patio seating.
Anyone who calls the Southwest home for any period of time will tell you that managing the heat in desert living is the most important aspect in creating a comfortable space. Heat rises as we all know and therefore structures tend to be low. Single storey homes are the most common profile, but even they require ingenuity to prevent heat from entering the interiors.
We’ve been designing a number of dressier awnings for clients in the last couple of years, some for entryways that you might not expect. The motivation is of course, to cover the windows and doorways, protect the areas below from sun and weather, and also to create a visual cue that “highlights” the space.
A town in Massachusetts made a study of their energy costs and found that by installing timers in municipal buildings so that lights were turned on in hallways, offices, classrooms, restrooms and maintenance areas when they were needed, rather than all at once at 7:00am, they would save as much as $500,000 annually.
Simply elegant or simply utilitarian, shade sails of any shape, any size or even any combination can be erected as freestanding cover to shield patios, pools, gardens and entryways from the sun. While shade sails can also be partially mounted to exterior walls, some of the most eye-catching are those erected to cover open spaces.
Courtyards, decks and overlook patios have become an industry standard when designing for hotels, restaurants and clubs. Being able to offer customers a view, or even better, an outdoor seating view gives a business a leg up on it’s competitors. It is the first choice for seating for many customers and will fill up more quickly than indoor seating. Every club owner or restaurant owner knows this. However, needing to also plan for inclement weather is a necessity in order to extend the useable season.
We’re pretty excited to talk about the completion of one of our most recent projects. Meow Wolf Santa Fe has garnered national acclaim for it’s launch more than a year ago and draws visitors and locals alike to wonder and explore the “Immersive Experience”. Rooms and artist installations change our views of design and challenge perspective of our world.