North facing block placements of living areas

hi there,

I have a land/block that is North/Slight East facing.
Details below.
Size 839m2
Width: 26m
East Depth: 26m
West Depth: 39m

I am in process of rebuild on this block of land a double storey home.

I would like to get the orientation as best as i can to get the most of of winter sun largely as this is in canberra and we get almost 6 months of winter and only a couple of months of real hot summer.

Reading through, it seems that we need to do the following:
1. keep living areas facing north...
living includes family, kitchen largely.
Q? Given ours is a north facing block, does this mean that the living
space should go to the front, so family right on north end and
then followed by kitchen area more as a backdrop of family.

What i am not quite getting is the placement of inner walls, doors and windows to support the northerly winter sun aspect? eg: As per above, we think the family with kitchen is taking top part of the block with north walls and west walls? Now i would have thought the windows here should be larger sized however the general recommendation is for the west windows to be smaller in size?.

I am thinking the north east front corner to be garage? That is if we keep the garage at the front of the house to get the most out of the space? Or should we move garage to the north-west corner or should we instead move it right to the south-west end with a drive way going through the west face?
I guess all in all, i am not so sure now where should certain modules sit keeping in mind a north large front block.

Any thoughts or links to some good references relating to such ideas would be wonderful.


Question by:
sumant gupta's picture
sumant gupta

Hi Sumant,

To answer your first question: yep, it's certainly preferable to have living areas arranged at the north side of a northerly facing home in the southern hemisphere to make the most of the available sun.

What's right in terms of window size, where windows are positioned, the placement of internal walls and where your garage should be will likely depend on a lot of other things, and this is where things becomes more complicated. Factors that will need to be considered include what kinds of views you're likely to have onto neighbouring properties, whether or not there's anything nearby that might impede sunlight / solar access, the shape of the block, how big and what shape the rooms will be (this may affect how big windows should be), where they should sit in relation to each other, the materials and products you're using, and so forth.

We'd love to give more advice about these things, but there are far too many variables and technical considerations that need to be taken into account when it comes to designing a house. Your best bet is to consult an architect or a  building designer - they're well versed in what's right for all kinds of different circumstances, and will be able to help you design something that's just right for both your site, and your particular tastes and needs.

Hope this helps,
The BUILD team