Shafts of sunlight brighten an 1882 house in Denver Essay

Shafts of sunlight brighten an 1882 house in Denver All living things need light. But ownerarchitect Don Parker foundlight hard to come by in his 1882 house in downtown Denver; aneighboring building to the south kept the house in shade through muchof the day. Parker’s solution was to install four large roof skylights andto cut openings in the second-level floor. The openings bring agenerous portion of the newly won sunlight down to matching planter bayson the first floor–enough to support lowlight plants such as Dracaenaderemensis and Philodendron scandens oxycardium. Parker cut the shafts through the decking of the second floor,leaving the exposed support joists underneath intact for strength.

Railsaround the shafts upstairs keep people from stepping through. Half-walls and folding doors give an open feeling while lettinglight spread through the house. Upstairs, the large bedroom areapictured above can become two rooms with the folding door closed.

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Abathroom can also be partitioned into two small rooms, providingconvenience and privacy for guests. Photo: Morning light brightens east facade of house, but buildingat left stands to the south, blocking sun most of the day Photo: Four new skylights bathe upper level with light. Floorcutouts and two stairwells spread light to people and plants inpreviously shady first level. To show flow of light more clearly,drawing eliminates fixtures, room dividers Photo: Rail surrounds shaft that directs light from nearby windowto ground floor. New woodwork, old brick give warm feeling; foldingdoor splits space into smaller rooms Photo: Plants grow from containers in bark-filled triangularplanter bed. Floor-support timber gives them climbing space.

Angledcounter separates dining nook from main living space

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