Exploring the potential for balcony addition to tenements’ backyard elevation in Wrocław - spatial challenges related to shade and indoor daylight illumination

Marta Smektała



The expected intensification of thermal modernizations due to the European Union requirements related to the reduction of CO2 emissions is a chance to reflect on potentiality of adaptation apartments in tenements to the current users’ needs and expectations. One of the elements improving living quality is a properly designed access to private outdoor space such as balconies. Urban typology potentially allows extending tenements’ backyard elevations with balconies. Nevertheless, these actions are not taken due to numerous limitations, i.a. because of an irregular elevations’ building line inside the quarters. The research aims to indicate the spatial conditions that would allow adding balconies to backyard elevations within the context of Polish technical regulations. The article focuses on regulations regarding obscuring and overshadowing the building and the impact of balconies’ additions on apartments’ indoor daylight. The research was conducted based on following methods: the desktop study of relevant regulations about minimal distances regarding obscuring and overshadowing the buildings, urban analysis presenting the typologies of inner-quarter elevation building line and daylight simulations of Daylight Factor and illuminance unveiling the balcony addition’s impact on interior daylight were conducted to reply these questions. The results are schedules of situations in tenements’ courtyards, where an addition would be difficult or impossible indicating minimal distances requirements and of balconies’ impact on indoor daylight depending on their forms and solar orientations. The study demonstrates that the Polish requirements are insufficient tool for indoor daylight preservation. The simulations conducted on the cases demonstrate that adding a balcony to the South, West and East elevations the illuminance does not lower the interior daylight below 300 lux, what is considered as a minimum level. What’s more, balcony may reduce daylight illuminance, where it exceeds 3000 lux and may cause an unwelcome glare effect. However, further research is necessary to investigate the Polish insolation regulations and proper add-on balcony design as an element enhancing apartment adaptability to different climate seasons.

Full article view is only available on bigger screens.