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close this bookNatural Energy and Vernacular Architecture: Principles and Examples with Reference to Hot Arid Climates (UNU, 1986, 172 pages)
close this folderPart 2. Natural energy and vernacular architecture
close this folder6. The sun factor in air movement
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentAir movement by convection
View the documentThe courtyard house
View the documentThe takhtabüsh
View the documentTraditional city layout and climate

The takhtabüsh

Modifications of the courtyard concept have been developed to ensure a steady flow of air by convection. The vernacular architecture of the Arab house includes an element called the takhtabush, a type of loggia. This is a covered outdoor sitting area at ground level, located between the courtyard and the back garden, opening completely onto the courtyard and through a mashrabiya onto the back garden. Since the back garden is larger and thus less shaded than the courtyard, air heats up more readily there than in the courtyard. The heated air rising in the back garden draws cool air from the courtyard through the takhtabush, creating a cool draft, as in the As-Suhaymi house and the Qã'a of Muhib Ash-Shãf'i Al-Muwaqqi in Cairo, shown in figures 73 and 74. A similar arrangement can be found in the tablinum of the ancient Roman villas of Pompeii.

This concept can be used in the town plan of a village or a residential sector from which automobile traffic is excluded, to provide a cool and agreeable meeting place for the inhabitants. In this case, the takhtabush can be set between two squares, one larger than the other. The larger square is on the leeward side to help in creating drafts by pressure differential. This design is illustrated in the village of Bans, Egypt, shown in figure 75.

The people of a village or a residential quarter often gather in certain agreeable places, in addition to parks, which were created unintentionally by the configuration of the buildings. Some of these places are well oriented to receive sunlight and are protected against wind, places elderly people would choose in the winter. Other places are shaded from the sun, have elements like the takhtabush to produce drafts, and are sought in the summer. It is important that the architect note this need and, based on a scientific understanding of the situation, consciously create agreeable public places that reintroduce human scale and aesthetics to townscapes.