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Function meets form in the Delta House, which incorporates innovative building solutions for our challenging rural Canadian climate. Perhaps more akin to aeronautics than architecture, biomimetic processes drove the problem-solving approach while seeking multiple functions for each component. A typical Canadian home grows up and out of the site, exposing more of the facade to the elements. Instead of building up, the focus here was to make better use of the lower level. A section of the house was dug out on the south side, making room for three main glazed boxes. The spaces and bedrooms of a typical second floor were transferred to the more protected basement, thus lowering the volume of conditioned air within the dwelling.

To minimize energy losses through the glazing, ATA centralized the windows on the south side of the building, while minimizing the glazing on other facades. The centralized windows became the “three sisters” allowing the winter sun into the main floor and lower level of the house. The aerodynamic delta shape of the building was tested in a wind tunnel and was designed to minimize energy loss due to contact with the turbulent winter wind. The sisters are tilted 10 degrees towards the sun, leveraging the properties of glass as a reflector, when the sun is at a high angle of incidence in the summer.

The house also contains an innovative thermal mass battery in the basement slab and a connected radiative masonry fireplace. Excess heat, gathered at the top of the tent-like roof is directed down and reheated through the chimney before being drawn into the basement slab for storage. Openings in the floor areas ensure the energy is equally distributed throughout the dwelling.

Read an article in the Globe and Mail about ATA’s Delta project here.