Open To Sky (OTS) In House – Advantages, Disadvantages & Design

What Is Open To Sky (OTS)?

Open to sky (OTS) is a part of the house that doesn’t have a roof. The OTS is connected to the parts of the house is often adjacent to multiple rooms of the house.

Open to sky courtyard of a house is often a rejuvenation and recreational area where family members can sit, relax and have fun.

Modern flats and apartments are covered from all around without an open to sky part, which leads to a gloomy atmosphere. Even though flats and apartments have artificial lighting, the vibes of natural light are unmatchable.

An open to sky part is covered with a glass or a translucent material. Thus, the natural light comes in, but rain doesn’t. However, it may be kept open for ventilation. Also, OTS is typical in single ownership houses.


Courtesy: Yasuhiro Nakayama

The other name for OTS is the atrium. An atrium is an open-air or sky-lit part of the house.

Courtesy: Yasuhiro Nakayama

Sometimes, an atrium is often confused with a courtyard. But there are differences between the two, and we shall discuss them too later in this article.

Purpose Ans Benefits Of OTS

The main purpose of OTS is to bring natural light into the house. Now, a question must have been itching your brain. Windows serve the same purpose, so why have an OTS?

So, to explain the purpose of an OTS, consider your house has windows on only one face. Also, the windows face the direction that receives the minimum sunlight.

Now, think of an OTS that provides you sunlight from the top. This way, you get the maximum amount of sunlight and a longer duration throughout the day. You don’t need to keep your lights on with an OTS all day. Thus, savings in power.

An OTS is also beneficial in rooms where only one room can have a window, and OTS provides sunlight to all the rooms if properly planned. Also, an OTS brings in the fresh air that improves the internal atmosphere of the house.

Moreover, an OTS can be useful for running HVAC ducts, plumbing, wiring, etc., from one floor to another. This way, it is easier to maintain and repair the utilities easier.

To conclude, it is evident that OTS has an advantage over the windows as they are limited due to the direction (as in the case of windows).

Disadvantages Of OTS

Every coin has two sides, and if something comes with goodness, it has dark sides too. So is the case with OTS.

The major disadvantage of having an OTS is the space usage that can’t be used for any other purpose. Also, the rooms with an OTS become smaller.

 Also, OTS are criticized for their fire hazard. It is said that OTS propagates the fire from one storey to another and that too very quickly.

Where Is OTS Provided?

Now, you are convinced that an OTS is beneficial for your house, and you are making up your mind to have one in your room. But you are confused about where to place them. Let us come to the rescue.

Even though the OTS has advantages, it is not good to have it directly over the rooms. So, you need to incorporate them into the house plan carefully. Because OTS acquires large space, and therefore, the rooms become smaller.

However, you can minimize the open space with careful planning and design. This way, you shall get the maximum light and ventilation with a minimum open area.

OTS in Bedroom

An OTS is very useful, having a kitchen or a bathroom on one side, which ensures ventilation in the kitchen and bathroom. Alongside, the plumbing and drainage arrangement can be made in the OTS.

Not only residential but commercial buildings use OTS as well. Buildings like theatres, malls, office buildings have OTS common space to save on their power expenditure.

Design Consideration For OTS

Some of the design considerations for an OTS are listed below.

Requirement of an OTS: Before going for an OTS, assess its viability. For example, a corner house with three sides generally doesn’t need an OTS.

Location in a house plan: As said earlier, the location should be such that the OTS can be used for multiple purposes such as lighting, HVAC, plumbing, electric fittings, drainage, water, and gas lines.

Size of the OTS: The size should be carefully planned to maximize the benefits with minimum square feet area.

Accessibility: Access to OTS is often from the terrace of the house. A monkey ladder is a suitable solution to reach from top to bottom to clean or maintain utilities.

Rain Protection: If the drainage is not available at the bottom of OTS, it is compulsory to protect it from rain. A shed or a glass cover is used to cover the OTS from rain.

Connection to the rooms: OTS is connected to the rooms with windows or ventilators.

Safety: To protect the house against theft, making the top of OTS inaccessible for an unauthorized person is necessary. The top should be fitted with a metallic grill and kept locked.

Also Read –

How To Draw A House Plan (Step By Step)

Types Of Windows Used In Buildings

Types Of Doors Used In Buildings

Different Types Of Bay Windows

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