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[Architecture] Houston: Awnings and Sun Coverings

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Cohete Rojo, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Member

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    So, I was browsing through Google street views in Athens, Greece and was amazed that so many of the housing units have porch awnings. They covered both the sides and the exterior facing of the porch. I have not seen this anywhere in Houston.

    I’ve attached some images to explain. The last one is actual an 'Arizona room' meant for dry environments but is still a neat idea to deal with the sun in an outdoor environment.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Greece has somewhat similar temperatures and climate to Houston through out the year, though the sustained high temperature extremes are greater in Houston and humidity is greater in Houston. And Houston summers are more akin to Hong Kong, although near freezing temperatures are more common in Houston than Hong Kong. So Houston is somewhat at a crossroads of these two (though I'm not familiar with a more similar city with a similar historical past as Athens and Hong Kong).

    So, I don’t understand why these kinds of coverings aren't more prominent in Texas or the South (like Atlanta, though its been awhile since I've been there). Is it just naivete ('Murica) or impractical? Houston is such a young city which does not have organic growth. So there is not an elderly population to draw upon such knowledge except perhaps the Heights. But the Heights many homes have covered porches.

    In fact, one of my parent's friends has a wonderful 1300 sq ft home with a covered porch and ceiling fans. It's actually possible to enjoy yourself outside during at least June in the late morning and early afternoon.

    Adding a ceiling fan or floor fan, and the porch becomes more livable. I think this is something Houston needs to relive itself of some of its obese tendencies. A simple porch with an awning may be the first step in taming the sprawl and developing a better mass transit network.

    Understandably, people spend a greater deal of their summer time indoors within the confines of an air conditioned room or on vacation somewhere more hospitable. However, I don't see a reason why a covered porch or patio cannot be air conditioned with a ceiling fan or floor fan.
     
  2. Duncan McDonuts

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    Personally, I wouldn't be out on my porch during the day in a Houston summer even in the shade. The heat and humidity is unbearable. Plus, what's the point when the thing obstructs your view?

    Structurally, I don't know how well those awnings would hold up with some of the crazy storms we get. If they're easily retractable, you could put them up in anticipation of bad storms, but then would it be worth the frequency of use?
     
  3. s land balla

    s land balla Member

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    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FBaMfUiTq-E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
  4. KePoW

    KePoW Member

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    This is the correct answer. I don't want to be outside even with an awning

    Houstonians aren't really outside people, that's not the culture here
     
  5. Faust

    Faust Member

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    speak for yourself man. we got a nice bbq yday and drank ice cold sweet tea under the shade with a water misting fan. accepting the humidity is part of the south
     
  6. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Member
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    Awnings don't address humidity or insects but a screened porch combined with a ceiling fan might do a lot to create a comfortable outdoor room.

    What would be ideal for Houston would be an out door space that is raised off the ground screened and with a high ceiling for a thermal stack effect. The problem is that creating such a space would be difficult to work with most American house designs.
     
  7. KePoW

    KePoW Member

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    I speak for the majority of Houstonians, obviously not literally 100% of people

    I think I have a better feel than random people, because I work in Sales for a large Home Builder inside the city/loop

    We build nice patio homes with large roof-terrace decks on top, and I can tell you most of our Homeowners don't even use it for 8+ months of the year
     
  8. Duncan McDonuts

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    Would you be outside if you weren't having a BBQ or guests over?
     
  9. bobloblaw

    bobloblaw Member

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    There is a senior citizen neighborhood by my parents' home. Every single house has awnings in the back yard and sun screens covering the garage, windows and doors. Seems excessive.
     
  10. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Member

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    The older you get, the wiser you get. Perhaps we can learn something from these folks. One thing that occurs to me is that such sun screens may cut down on home heating during the summer. With blinds, while you are blocking the sun from reaching the floors and walls, you are still allowing the sun into the house.

    That being said, attacking the sun outside of the house may cut down on this. My mother's neighbor has sun screens on their windows. They also removed their chimney a few years back to cut down on their electric bill.

    Screened porches with a ceiling fan are nice. My grandmother has a raised screened porch with a ceiling fan. It is nice. Too bad she doesn't have any internet. No kidding. But, what do you mean by American designs being difficult to work with? I should think that even cookie-cutters could have porches, though perhaps not raised 2-3' off the ground.
     
  11. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Member
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    Houston's climate like you said is similar to Hong Kong and is essentially subtropical. If you look at traditional tropical house designs the idea is to maximize air circulation. Raising a house off of the ground on pilings allow for air circulation under the house, through the floor boards and then up through a high roof based on the thermal stack effect.
    [​IMG]
    If you look at a lot of old houses built in Louisiana they basically follow this pattern.
    [​IMG]

    The problem with this design is that it doesn't work with slab on grade construction which is wildly used in Texas nor does it work well with the ranch style or the big blocky McMansion style of house. The ranch style was developed for an arid climate and the McMansion style only works with AC.
     
  12. Supermac34

    Supermac34 President, Von Wafer Fan Club

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    We have a nice, recessed covered patio on our house. We took the step to screen it in, added industrial heaters for the winter and fans for the summer. We use it quite a bit, even in the hotter months with the fans on.

    We also have strategically placed trees that lend additional shade on that side of the house to keep it bearable during the summer.
     
  13. Buck Turgidson

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    They're actually quite prevalent in Texas and the South.

    They're call "screened porches".
     

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