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Solar walls and sod roof.

Solar walls and sod roof

Passive-solar principles get a workout in this house designed by South Laguna architect Neil Pinney for Abe and Joy Gurvin of Vista, California. Set into a hillside on the north and roofed with sod for insulation, the house opens to the south with a glass-walled solarium. While the Gurvins built their house from scratch to suit their particular needs, the idea of the spa enclosure can be easily adapted to many remodeling situations.

Alongside the open living-dining area, Pinney designed the solarium to stretch 17 feet and project, prow-like, 6 feet into the garden at each end and 7 feet in the middle. To hold the 4-foot-diameter redwood tub, he poured a concrete shell to clear tub sides by 6 inches; the tub rests on precast footings inside the shell.

The architect paved the solarium with concrete that soaks up heat during the day to radiate into the house at night; an insert of removable redwood decking surrounding the tub allows access to spa machinery.

Pinney framed the shed-like wall of glass with 4-by-4s; rough-sawn cedar covers sealed glass joints. Overhead, three short 4-by-12 beams--one in the center and one at each end--project from the roof fascia along with intermediate 2-by-4s to support the tempered-glass roof panels. Outside the glass shed, Pinney added similarly spaced 2-by-4s to form trellis supports for wisteria vines.

In the end walls, louvered panels at floor level let in fresh air, while high transom windows hinge open to vent unwanted heat. Sliding glass doors open the house interior to the solarium's warmth when desired.

Viewed from the garden, parallel 2-by-12 fascias give a finished look to the sod roof and projecting solarium.

Photo: Glass walls and roof enclose shed-like solarium with spa; room projects from the south face of sod-roofed house. Solar panels on slope outside heat hot tub
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jul 1, 1986
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