Keeping dry but also keeping natural light Essay

Transparent rain protectors offer overhead cover while keeping
doorways bright. All four of our examples–shown here and on page
114–use tempered glass or acrylic for roofing material.

The first two examples use the glass as part of long walkways
leading to front doors. The two on page 114 have smaller-scale
“eyebrows” over patio doors.

Designer Tom Ward of Village Design Group in Petaluma, California,
integrated his rain protector in 27 feet of the 53-foot-long covered
walkway leading to the entry of a two-story house. The walkway runs
along the side of a one-car garage; Ward positioned the garage in front
of the house for privacy from the street and because the lot was a scant
35 feet wide. The glass fits into the extended eaves of the gable roof
leading to the main house. Ward used factory seconds of tempered
sliding-glass door panels. Each panel measures 34 by 76 inches and is
sandwiched between layers of pretrimmed butyl glazing tape, allowing
movement but sealing out rain. Above the seams, aluminum channel
screwed to the extended rafters holds the panels in place.

To offer protection from Portland’s all-too-frequent rains,
architect James Oliver added an open-ended, shed-roof greenhouse along
the entry of the hillside house shown above. The 8-foot-wide,
20-foot-long shelter has tempered-glass panels overhead and along the
outside wall. Since the entry is on the tree-shrouded east side of the
house, it rarely gets direct sun, and in warmer months the owners turn
the space into a greenhouse by hanging fuchsias and begonias from the
4-by-6 rafters. (Drip-irrigation lines and misters run along the bottom
of the rafters to water the plants.)

To the rear of the same house, Oliver added a simple metal-framed
“eyebrow” above a sliding glass door. Made of 1-inch-square
metal tubing, the welded frame bolts to the wall studs. To reduce the
amount of direct sunlight entering a west-facing room, Oliver used
tinted glass for the overhead panels. Narrow aluminum bars and butyl
caulking cap the glass. To prevent the glass from sliding down, the end
of each bar was bent to act as a stop.

In the other overhead protector pictured on this page, architect
Hiro Morimoto of Emeryville, California, designed a wood frame that
extends out 43 inches and runs 75 inches across the wall abover a
second-floor bedroom doorway. The clear-fir frame hangs from two 2-by-6
ledgers bolted to the wall; marine varnish preserves the warm color of
the wood. Morimoto used 1/4-inch-thick bronze-tinted acrylic for the
glazing material. The owners are Evelyne and David Lennette of Alameda,
California.