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Partial Glass Brick Chimney

hanging brick stack effect
  [vote for,

I am finally getting around to putting some photovoltaic panels under the bracing Australian sunshine that hammers down on my roof (not nearly so attenuated by stratospheric ozone as your watery northern-hemisphere sunshine).

However, the people who built my house, back in 1901, put up a brick chimney so tall that you could build an extra storey on the house without extending it, if you felt so inclined.

Like a gigantic gnomon, this sweeps the roof each day with its shadow.

Now, in practice, we will get around the worst effects of this shading by using micro-inverters.

In theory, however, it would be much better to replace some, but not all, of the chimney's bricks with glass ones, fixed with glass mortar.

First, this would create the momentary, corner-of-the-eye illusion of a stack of unsupported bricks high above the house. The cut-off would be ragged, with one or two courses containing both glass and opaque bricks, as if to suggest that individual bricks might be falling off as you watched.

Second, it would have a dappling effect on the sunlight, a bit like that of a dimpled beer mug. Dimpled beer mugs are good.

The inside of the glass, at least, ought to stay clean, because what's under the chimney is no longer a wood fire but a gas one.

The residual stack of opaque bricks resting on top of the glass ones could be embellished with a bit of plaster sculpture so that it actually had a gigantic gnome on, possibly aping King Kong.

pertinax, Mar 06 2015

Glass bricks in architecture http://inhabitat.co...-6000-glass-bricks/
[Voice, Mar 06 2015]


       May I suggest fresnellically enhancing the concept? Perhaps pretty coloured bricks as well for that stained glass effect. This will give your home some perthanality. (West Aussie joke)
AusCan531, Mar 06 2015

       Glass isn't that transparent in brick form. You'll want a custom glass chimney.
Voice, Mar 06 2015

       I think you should embrace your new house-sundial concept. If, inside your house, you had a real-time readout of the power generated by each solar panel throughout the day as the shadow of the chimney swept across them, you could use the ratio of power outputs between the panels to tell you what time it was.
hippo, Mar 06 2015

       Excellent work on the various word games played in this idea.
calum, Mar 06 2015

       What is this "sunshine " of which you speak? Your words are strange to us ...   

       [+] for "gigantic gnomon" alone.
8th of 7, Mar 06 2015

       Rather than demo and rebuild, could you not wrap the chimney with a covering containing fiber optics to redirect sunlight so that, although there would still be shade, certain panels will always receive twice the light?   

       You could mount the panels on a giant fan shape, pivoted on the chimbley, so that it rotates to track the sun.
pocmloc, Mar 06 2015

       No, have the solar panels on the roof be individually movable and program them to move so there is always a gap where the shadow is. Mount the panels that would have been in the gap on the chimney.   

       Though I'm guessing solar efficiency is secondary, simply being the catalyst to the idea of having a chimney that appears to be discontinuous, which is a [+].
scad mientist, Mar 06 2015

       [+] Nothing to do with my idea of taking the ruins of an old castle, which still have a bit of wall left, and adding glass and steel to restore it.
FlyingToaster, Mar 07 2015

       ^You're dreaming.
AusCan531, Mar 07 2015

       Put the Voight-Kampff on him ... get him to tell you, in single words, about his mother ...
8th of 7, Mar 07 2015


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