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re: pyramid house
23 may 1996
<4o1616$frb@reader1.reader.news.ozemail.net>? wrote,

>is there any one out there that has any info on building houses
>constructed in the shape of a pyramid, i am trying to design a three
>story house with the top story as an atrium.
>i don't know much about architecture but i would think it would a
>fairly basic design.
>any thoughts or info would be appreciated.

sounds interesting. how about an solar a-frame, with a vertical glazed face
on the sunny side (north, for you, in new zealand), with two tensile supports
running north and south? making this 24' tall at the peak, with two 30'
telephone poles and flexible membrane walls might give you a nice inexpensive
structure with a 25' square footprint, ie 324 ft^2 of ground floor, with a
144 ft^2 first floor and an 48 ft^2 atrium floor, with two walls that slope
up to an 8' peak at the vertical wall. an artificial treehouse...

a vertical wall elevation:        and a view from the west:

        24'     .                            .   
              .   .               sun      t . t       (try looking at this
     16'    ...12'...                    t   .6'.t      with a non-prop font
          .           .                t     .     t    like courier...)
   8'   .......24'.......            t       ...12'..t
      .                   .        t         . sc      t
...............36'............ ..t.....pool?......18'....t......

the floors might be tensile and a bit flexible, and there might be a rope
ladder or a cable from a reversible dc winch hanging down from the peak,
run from a battery charged by a pv panel in the sunspace below.

i'd glaze the whole thing with polyethylene film and use part of the ground
floor for a solar closet, with some dark-colored straw bales sitting inside
the poly near the vertical wall, with a single layer of polycarbonate plastic
over the sunny side of the strawbale room, and an air gap between the plastic
and the strawbales. the vertical glazed face of this structure would have an
area of 432 ft^2, so it might gather about 500k btu (150 kwh) of sun on an
average (cold) day in june, with a shallow reflecting pond in front, and the
first floor would have an exposed surface area of 144 ft^2 for the glazed
wall, and a bit more for the sloped walls. suppose we lined the sloped walls
and ceiling on the inside with sheepskins, so the main heat loss from that 
room was thru the r1 vertical glazing. then on a freezing day, with 32 f air
outside and 72 f inside (about 0 c and 20 c, where you live), that little
room might need 24(72-32)144/r1=140k btu (40 kwh) to keep warm. on an average
winter day, with some sun, the room's own glazing could supply that, perhaps 
with a bit of heat flowing up from below.

how much water do we need in the solar closet to store heat for say, 5 days
without sun? each 55 gallon drum full of water can store about 25 k btu
(7.5 kwh) as it cools from 130 f to 80 f, so to store heat for 5 days we
might need about 200k/7.5k = 28 drums, or 280 5 gallon plastic paint pails
with lids or a 5 year supply of pepsi or water in recycled 2 liter soda
bottles. an 8' cube should do, made with 12 straw bales, each 4' x 4' x 8',
costing $25 each where i live, darkened and glazed on the sunny side, with
an air space under the glazing and a couple of plastic film one-way dampers
to keep the heat inside at night. 

wool bales would also do nicely, with some dark wool on the sunny side.

and a few sheep wandering round the basement would also help.

voila.

nick



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