For this weeks assignment we were asked to develop a sun diagram and develop a understanding between the sun path and the site.  The site I chose was ‘Mad Bowl,’ which is a field located between Madison Avenue and Rugby Road in Charlottesville, Virginia.

What times of the year and times of day make up the primary solar window?

The area I studied for this assignment was ‘Mad Bowl’ and the buildings that make up its edges.  Being such a large space, there is little sun obstruction upon the area.  This provides for a fairly large primary solar window that lasts between just before 8 am to about 5 pm in the summer months. This means that the actual sun is only being obstructed just after sunrise and a few hours before sunset. In the winter months, the sun is lower in the sky and is more obstructed by the surrounding edges, providing a smaller solar window over the area.

How might you respond to this as an architect with respect to the siting and orientation of your meeting place?

‘Mad Bowl’ is primarily used for sporting events and practices.  It provides a large space with natural lighting for athletes to practice on.  However, with such strong sun exposure during the day, it can be dangerous to be under.  I would suggest holding sporting events before noon, so that the sun is not as direct and strong.  I would also recommend between 4 and 7 pm because the sun becomes obstructed behind the trees and is lower in the sky, while still providing light.  As an architect I would place more trees for shade along the south and west sides, facing north-west, for fans to stand and watch games.  Not only would this place the spectator facing away from the sun, but it would also provide better shade with the taller buildings and topography that surround it.  The houses along the east side benefit from the solar window because the sun shines throughout the day but then becomes obstructed just as the sun is setting, so the harsh and distracting south-west light is not going straight into the homes.  This may not be the best place to watch a sunrise or sunset, but it does make for a great place to play in the sun.