Contemporary Architecture

The Florida Solar Cracker House – an energy efficient, solar-powered home

What is passive house?

  •  A passive house is a building in which a comfortable interior climatecan be maintained without active heating and cooling systems.
  •  The house heats and cools itself, hence “passive”.
  • cost-effective
  • Passive design is design that does not require mechanical heating or   cooling.
  • Homes that are passively designed take advantage of natural energy flows to maintain thermal comfort.

Following are the basic features that distinguish passive house construction:

  • Compact form and good insulation.
  • Southern orientation and shade considerations {0.15 W/(m²K) }
  • Energy-efficient window glazing and frames {0.80 W/(m²K) , 50% }
  • Passive preheating of fresh air (above 5°C )
  • Hot water supply using regenerative energy sources

Incorporating the principles of passive design :

  • Significantly improves comfort.
  • Reduces or eliminates heating and cooling bills.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions from heating, cooling, mechanical  ventilation and lighting.


  • location & area : The house is near the middle of 60 acre southwest of Jacksonville , North Florida.
  • Designed by: Randy Cullom & his wife  L.Elizabeth

What is the climate of north Florida?

  • From mid-April to mid-October is generally hot and humid.
  • Daytime temperature varies from 90 – 70 *f.
  • Cool nights and warm, but not hot, days, and low to    moderate humidity.
  • December and January can be cold, with several to about a dozen freezing spells.
  • Rainfall is more uniform throughout the year in northern Florida.
  • Cool season rainfall (meaning the 6 months from mid-October until mid-April), from 2″ to 4″ per month.       


  • South-facing windows and doors
  • Windows are designed to reflect heat
  • No flat ceilings to allow air to stagnate
  • Both parts of the house are very open• windows or doors on each wall for good cross-ventilation.
  • Isolate the hot, humid kitchen and bath areas from the remaining living space
  • A cupola provides a very efficient way to bring natural light inside without allowing direct radiation to enter the house.
  • Most important building material in house is wood ( timber )
  • Cistern which can be used to collect rainwater for all household water needs
  • No fossil fuels
  • Use of the Composting Toilet (black water and gray water)
  • In a typical household, 35 to 45% of all household potable water is flushed down the toilet
  • Wooden cook stove
  •  Hot water for household use is mainly provided by a solar collector.
  • Able to generate a current or voltage when exposed to visible light or other electromagnetic radiation

The two-story greenhouse :

  • Temperature-moderating thermal mass .
  • Passive solar heating in the winter.
  • Open to the kitchen .
  • Food production.
  • 2500 square foot organic garden.
  • High level openable windows capture winter sun & create cooling currents in summer.
  • No Stagnancy of wind

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Contemporary Architecture




Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.


A facade is an exterior of the building together with all the elements on it. The facade is usually said to be one side of the exterior of a building, especially the front, but sometimes also the sides and rear.



  • Reduce  the summer cooling load and improve the surrounding air quality.
  • Turning the lower floors of the tower into a green façade as a cost effective way of transforming the image of the tower and increasing biodiversity.


  • Cable net facades are a true magical display of facade engineering. It uses cables in a net form and in many cases the cable can be hidden directly onto the glass panel connecting line. Cable net systems are considered by many as the most visual free construction concept in the industry.
  • The cable’s modular elasticity factor means cables will sag and tighten greatly with different temperatures of the day thus helping in regulation of temperature in the building
  • Furthermore, the massive load of the whole facade must be designed very carefully in conjunction with the structure
  • Model tests and finite element analyses were conducted to study the performance of cable net facades with glass panels under dynamic loadings.
  • The effects of the glass panels on the free vibration frequencies, damping and dynamic responses of the cable net facade were investigated using dynamic characteristics and shaking table tests. Based on the test results, a mechanism to describe the glass panels working in coordination with the cable net was proposed.
  • Under the proposed mechanism, a numerical model of the glass panels working in coordination with the cable net was established, and the corresponding analyses of the dynamic characteristics and seismic responses of the cable net facade were performed.
  • The present study shows that the bending stiffness of the glass panels has little effect on the first mode of the cable net facade, but its effect is substantial on the high modes. For the damping of the cable net facade, the glass panels play a dominant role. The seismic response of the cable net facade on most occasions is mainly reflected by the symmetric modes; the first vibration mode is dominant.


  • Flats with large windows facing south, east and west can over heat during summers due to excessive solar gains.
  • Horizontal shading devices:
  • Overhangs, light shelves and external louvres over the windows facing south.
  • designed to let direct winter gain but must protect against the summer sun.
  • Vertical shading devices:
  • Used for the windows facing eastern and western directions.
  • Overhangs -solid or opaque, and use flat or sloped designs.
  • Fixed and movable exterior louvres running horizontally or vertically across windows -reflect and diffuse sunlight.



  • Although the aesthetics and uniqueness of living walls are undoubtedly the driving force behind their current popularity, there are also many environmental benefits to green walls:
  • Reduction of thermal loading to buildings – lowers heating and cooling costs and lowers carbon emissions
  • Reduction of heat island effect – less reflected heat
  • Air purification – plants are efficient filters of pollution, especially when used indoors
  • Noise reduction – quieter buildings and streets
  • Increased urban biomass – the ecological habitat is increased even with non-native plant species


  • Living Walls Are Aesthetically Pleasing And Eco-Friendly.
  • The aesthetically pleasing nature and wow factor of living walls makes them a popular addition to any building,however green walls main benefit is environmental
  • Like so much green technology, living walls are extremely expensive to install. However, this innovation has an advantage over other eco-developments – its beauty. Unlike solar panels or wind turbines, green walls are undeniably aesthetically pleasing. The motivation for their installation is almost always to enhance the appearance of a building, with the environmental benefits often a secondary concern.