This paper describes the fluid mechanics within a box containing a vertical, plane, distributed source of buoyancy. A theoretical analysis is presented that models the development of plumes from such sources in an unconfined ambient that is of uniform density. Two extensions are considered. The first concerns a sealed box and the second involves the more general situation where the box is ventilated by openings at top and bottom. In the sealed box the stratification develops in much the same way as for a `filling-box' containing a single, point source of buoyancy on the floor. An initial front descends from the ceiling of the box and an asymptotic stratification eventually develops which is continuous in the vertical direction. In the case of the ventilated box it is found that a complex stratification develops where one or more horizontal intrusions are formed by detachment of the plume/boundary layer from the vertically distributed source where the buoyancy of the plume is less than, or equal to, that of the stratified ambient at a given height. Experimental results are presented to demonstrate the validity of the theory. The findings are relevant to both forced and naturally ventilated buildings containing non-adiabatic vertical surfaces.