Using the building form itself to achieve natural cooling has been an interest of mine since I first discovered Sonoma County hop kilns over 40 years ago. Although many of our vernacular agricultural buildings have ventilation cupolas or similar hot air escape features, the hop kiln chimneys were like cupolas on steroids – and were sometimes built in groups of two, three, or four. Cupolas often have a classic refinement about them and they harken back many hundreds of years. Whatever the projecting rooftop feature is, the idea behind it is quite simple: hot air rises so therefore, let’s take advantage of, and even encourage it (!).
We have two sets of ventilation louvers on our Dry Creek Valley studio and two sets on our house, both of which were hoisted into place earlier this week. That’s Dan Zirbes and Brian Nelson accomplishing the challenge while out of sight Darin Luran is doing the heavy pulling (white rope) and I am maintaining overall alignment (yellow rope).