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Brise soleil

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Yorkshire sculpture park underground gallery

A basic brise soleil at the Underground gallery at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. This photo was taken at noon in April, a little after the vernal equinox. Note how the top of the glazing is in shade. As the passage of summer continues, the noon shading on the glass will be greater.

Brise soleil, sometimes brise-soleil (breez-soh-ley, from French, "sun breaker"), in architecture refers to a variety of permanent sun-shading techniques, ranging from the simple patterned concrete walls popularized by Le Corbusier to the elaborate wing-like mechanism devised by Santiago Calatrava for the Milwaukee Art Museum or the mechanical, pattern-creating devices of the Institut du Monde Arabe by Jean Nouvel.

In the typical form, a horizontal projection extends from the sunside facade of a building. This is most commonly used to prevent facades with a large amount of glass from overheating during the summer. Often louvers are incorporated into the shade to prevent the high-angle summer sun falling on the facade, but also to allow the low-angle winter sun to provide some passive solar heating.


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