Taking Daylight to the Next Level: How Daylighting Analysis is Changing Design

10 DESIGN’s Ashjar at Al Barari residential project. Image Courtesy of 10 DESIGN

Until recently, renderings were the architect’s primary tool for understanding in their designs—renderings, and a healthy dose of intuition. But a new generation of daylighting analysis tools, which is emerging alongside a new generation of daylighting metrics, are enabling architects to look at daylight in new ways—with important implications for design.

Business as usual, when it comes to daylight, is to use rules of thumb to design, then use renderings to check the design and communicate the intent. Rendering has fast become an art form: the creation of exquisite, evocative, often atmospheric imagery that communicates the mood, the experience, the visceral feel of the design. This is no accident: daylighting is a magic ingredient in architecture, bringing dynamism to static structure, imbuing buildings with a sense of time, and renderings are a powerful way to capture and communicate these ideas—a necessary complement to the hard line plans and sections that comprise much of the architect’s lexicon. Renderings have expanded our ability to communicate designs. They have also expanded our ability to conceptualize designs—and especially to conceptualize the daylight in our designs.

But there’s something missing: there are important daylight-related questions that renderings simply can’t answer. Even if they can be made reasonably accurate, they’re still incomplete: depicting a moment in time, but not providing an indication of whether that moment is unique or typical.

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Vote for Your Favorite Atlanta Bridgescape Proposal

Finalist A: “Green City Spectator” at Midtown’s 10th Street . Image © Bridgescape Competition

Five finalists have emerged in the Atlanta Bridgescape Competition. The urban design challenge, which was launched earlier this year, sought creative ideas to enhance two existing freeway overpasses in the city’s Midtown and Downtown districts. Now in the competition’s final phase, the finalists have refined their ideas, taking in consideration a budget of up to $3 million for each project. The proposals are now undergoing public review and you are invited to vote for your favorite design as part of the People’s Choice Award. Read on to review each proposal and find out how to vote.

A winner will be announced this Friday, May 15 at the AIA’s 2015 National Convention.

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An Interview with Lu Wenyu, Amateur Architecture Studio

Hangzhou Xiangshan Campus Phase 2. Image © Evan Chakroff

“Every couple of years a new manifesto appears, but how long can it last? We need more people doing instead of talking. [At Amateur Architecture ] we spend an enormous amount of time experimenting, trying to resurrect the craftsmanship that is almost lost. We use a method that is passed on, hand-to-hand, to re-establish tradition instead of talking about abstract but empty concepts.”
- Lu Wenyu, Hangzhou, 2013

Pier Alessio Rizzardi: “A house instead of a building” is a really famous phrase of Amateur Architecture Studio. What is the meaning behind this concept?

Lu Wenyu: Once, Wang Shu said: “we only make houses, we don’t make architecture.” The house and architecture here have their own meanings. Making a house means making it for the people, making it more tranquil, or closer to nature, more humanized. Instead, architecture is an abstract concept, so many designs nowadays are actually architecture. So this sentence, from almost 20 years ago, “making houses, not architecture”, is about not making that abstract concept, but to make something really concrete and tangible, something that you can touch or that is made with your own hands… so when you see this house, you feel differently.

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AR Issues: Past Imperfect, Future Tense

Courtesy of The Architectural Review

ArchDaily is continuing our partnership with The Architectural Review, bringing you short introductions to the themes of the magazine’s monthly editions. In this introduction to the April 2015 issue, her final editorial at the magazine, Catherine Slessor reflects on the changes in her two-decade tenure as a member of the AR’s editorial staff – from the technological change that has irrevocably changed the nature of architectural publishing, to the worrying decline in the relevance of the architectural profession.

Cyberpunk king William Gibson once remarked: “The future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed.” But we’re getting there. The AR’s digital adventure has just climaxed with the recent launch of the AR app. Our lavish and incomparable banquet of criticism, culture and campaigning can now be savoured at your leisure, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. It’s a leap that completes the journey from paper magazine to digital multiverse, offering more and different kinds of content on your platform of choice.

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Poll: Who Will Design Obama’s Presidential Library and Museum?

On Tuesday, the Foundation is expected to officially announce its decision to build Obama’s presidential library and museum in Chicago. With two sites under consideration - Washington Park or Jackson Park – speculation has now shifted towards the architect. Who will design the  Presidential Library and Museum?

Will it be David Adjaye, the London-based, Tanzanian-born architect who designed the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (which will complete next year)? Or how about one of the city’s leading architects: Jeanne Gang, Helmut Jahn, Ralph Johnson or John Ronan? Perhaps it will be Philip Freelon; as the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin points out, Obama made a recent visit to a library he designed in Washington DC. Some are even considering Renzo Piano; Michelle Obama seemed to have a deep appreciation for his newly constructed Whitney Museum when she spoke at its dedication ceremony a few weeks back.

With all this to bear in mind, who do you think will design the  Presidential Library and Museum? Answer a poll after the break.

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AD Classics: Limoges Concert Hall / Bernard Tschumi Architects

Courtesy of

For those familiar with the more canonical work of Bernard Tschumi, the Concert Hall may seem a puzzlingly conventional departure from the radical, intensively theoretical projects that introduced the world to the Swiss architect. In one sense, the visual clarity of the design doesn’t provoke the same complex discourses on architectural violence and eroticism that guided his early-career pursuits, and it is certainly a more functional evolution of his polemic on non-programmatic space that was famously exhibited at Parc de la Villete. In another sense, the concept and form of Limoges aren’t anything novel, either, emerging almost in its entirety from a concert hall prototype Tschumi developed in the late 1990s for a similar venue at Rouen. But Limoges is important for other reasons: in addition to its thoughtful material and spatial choices, it is one of the more articulate illustrations of Tschumi’s explorations of movement and enclosure—“vectors and envelopes”—that inform much of his recent work.

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Radical Cities, Radical Solutions: Justin McGuirk’s Book Finds Opportunities In Unexpected Places

Elemental’s Quinta Monroy houses in Chile have become a poster-image for Latin America’s activist architecture. Image © Cristóbal Palma

Justin McGuirk‘s book Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture is fast becoming a seminal text in the architecture world. Coming off the back of his Golden-Lion-winning entry to the 2012 Venice Biennale, created with Urban Think Tank and Iwan Baan, McGuirk’s work has become a touchstone for the architecture world’s recent interest in both low-cost housing solutions and in Latin America. This review of Radical Cities by Joshua K Leon was originally published by as ”Finding Radical Alternatives in Slums, Exurbs, and Enclaves.”

Justin McGuirk’s Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture should be required reading for anyone looking for ways out of the bleak social inequality we’re stuck in. There were 40 million more slum dwellers worldwide in 2012 than there were in 2010, according to the UN. Private markets clearly can’t provide universal housing in any way approaching efficiency, and governments are often hostile to the poor. The only alternative is collective action at the grassroots level, and I’ve never read more vivid reporting on the subject.

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Why Do Professors “Rip Apart” Projects In The Final Review?

© Flickr CC user Rory MacLeod

In a recent article in which ArchDaily reached out to our readers for comments about all-nighter culture, one comment that seemed to strike a chord with many people was kopmis’ assertion that, thanks to the tendency for professors to “rip apart” projects in a final review, ”there is no field of study that offers so much humiliation as architecture.” But what causes this tendency? In this article, originally published by Section Cut as “The Final Review: Negaters Gonna Negate,” Mark Stanley – an Adjunct Professor at Woodbury University School of Architecture – discusses the challenges facing the reviewers themselves, offering an explanation of why they often lapse into such negative tactics – and how they can avoid them.

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What’s Behind Europe’s Grandiose Rebuilding?

Dresden’s Baroque Frauenkirche was destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945, only to be revived in the same form in 2005

Is there a growing nostalgia pervading attitudes to civic architecture in Europe? From ’s new Royal Palace on the River Spree to Turkey’s rekindled fascination with their Ottoman heritage, architecture is becoming the medium of choice for exploring a city’s roots and a people’s past. In this post originally published by TheLong+Short, Feargus O’Sullivan investigates how many governments and developers have decided that the way to future lies in looking backwards.

Reading about Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in the German press, you’d be forgiven for thinking the building was in Leipzig, not the Middle East. “The tallest building in the world is so German,” said Der Spiegel when the tower opened in 2010. “The Burj Khalifa is an Ossi!” shouted Bild, using the common nickname for East Germans. The headlines were partly right: when East ’s old parliament building, the Palace of the Republic in Berlin, was demolished in 2006, several thousand tonnes of steel girders were stripped from its carcass and shipped to the Gulf for use in the construction of Burj Khalifa.

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Light Matters: Heightening The Perception Of Daylight With Henry Plummer (Part 2)

Monastery of La Tourette, Éveux-sur-l’Arbresle, France by Le Corbusier. Image © Henry Plummer 2011

Architecture professor and photographer Henry Plummer has heightened the transformative power of daylight with his cameras and published several remarkable books about light and architecture. His deep interest in light, and his lyrical writing perspective, were formed through his contact with the designer and art theorist György Kepes while studying at MIT. Within his numerous photo journeys Plummer has documented the various facets of in Japan and the Nordic Countries, and of masters like Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. As a Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Plummer also still has ambitious plans for future book projects. In the second part of this interview, Plummer reveals how changing technologies have affected his photography, and discusses his thoughts on phenomenology and developing a poetic language of light.

If you missed it, you can read part one of this interview here.

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#donotsettle: User-Oriented Architecture Vlogging

Visiting Delft Station on opening day. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle

The medium of film has long been employed to visualise, document and narrate architectural and urban space. Since the advent of more accessible devices to capture and record these journeys and explorations it has been used more frequently by practices and students in an attempt to develop new ways of experiencing built designs. #donotsettle, a channel established by two architects and urban enthusiasts while studying at TUDelft in The Netherlands, seeks to reconcile the disparity between film as architectural representation and as an experiential medium. Although not high in production value, their films are exciting examples of how user-oriented architectural ‘vlogging’ can uncover an entirely new way of understanding the world around us, imbued with a refreshing level of enthusiasm and authenticity.

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Norman Foster’s Advice for the Young: “Find Something You Believe In”

Unless architecture is truly your passion, Norman Foster thinks you should simply find something else to pursue. In the Louisiana Channel‘s latest, the prolific English architect advises the young to live “every living second of your life” doing what you love.

An Interview With Chen Yifeng, Deshaus

Long Museum West Bund / . Image © Xia Zhi

“We use two aspects to express architecture: Qing [emotion], Jing [pattern]. Jing is the architectural pattern that we apply, to certify the living and working style, to consider what our architecture can bring. Another thing is the relationship between architecture and the site, the city and nature. Ancient Chinese dwellings are usually enclosed by walls, creating an introverted space. This is the second aspect Qing, more related to traditional customs, aesthetics, and our attitude towards the environment and nature. The enclosed space originates from our interpretation of Qing. What we have captured about the ancient spirit of aesthetics is a kind of uncertainty, a kind of blurry and ambiguous feeling.”
- Chen Yifeng, Shanghai, 2013

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Book Excerpt: Safdie / Moshe Safdie

Courtesy of Images Publishing Group

The prolific body of work produced over the last half century by Moshe Safdie and his firm is somewhat anomalous in the pantheon of high-profile living architects. It is unique in both formal and philosophical terms, nostalgically guided by the ethical precepts of bygone modernist theory while working in architectural languages significantly evolved from midcentury standards. In the course of a comprehensive review of his projects, it is perhaps the very lack of an isomorphic personal signature that makes his celebrity so unique. The Safdie “look” is chameleonic, deliberately adapting to culture and context without suffering from the burden of personal branding, unified by theory and a geometric playfulness that transcends architectural language and affect.

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AD Classics: National Museum of Roman Art / Rafael Moneo

© Flickr user James Gordon

Arches have long been used to mark the greatest achievements of Roman civilization. Constantine, Titus, and Septimus Severus built them to commemorate their military victories. Engineers at Segovia and Nîmes incorporated them into their revolutionary aqueducts. And fifteen hundred years after the Fall of Rome, Rafael Moneo gave a modern touch to the ancient structure in Mérida’s breathtaking National Museum of Roman Art, located on the site of the former Iberian outpost of Emerita Augusta. Soaring arcades of simple, semi-circular arches merge historicity and contemporary design, creating a striking yet sensitive point of entry to the remains of one of the Roman Empire’s greatest cities.

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Photo Essay: The Evolution of Atlanta’s Ponce City Market

© Blake Burton

For almost a century, one of the largest buildings in the Southeastern United States has maintained a dominating street presence in Atlanta, . Now the Ponce City Market, the building was originally designed by Nimmons, Carr and Wright Architects and built in 1925 as a Sears, Roebuck & Co. distribution and retail center, operating until 1989. In 1991, the City of purchased the building, renamed it City Hall East and  housed several public works departments, storing countless items among its 2.1 million square feet of space. As the city’s utilization of the building dwindled, Jamestown Properties stepped in and acquired the building in 2010.  Five years later, Ponce City Market is poised to become one of the greatest historic rehabilitation projects in the country.

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Take A Look At Milan Expo’s 2015 Pavilions on Opening Day

The USA Pavilion’s 7,200-square-foot vertical farm. Image © Saverio Lombardi Vallauri

Italy’s global commercial fair, Milan Expo 2015 opened today. The six month event, expected to attract nearly 20 million visitors, is showcasing 54 national pavilions, among a number of corporate and multinational installations, all focused on “Feeding the Planet” and promoting their national cuisine. Pavilions by Foster + Partners, Herzog & de Meuron, SPEECHDaniel Libeskind and many others will remain on view through October 31.

Take a look at some of the fair’s most talked about pavilions on opening day, after the break.

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The Architectural Lab: A History Of World Expos

The Universal Exposition of 1889. Image via Wikimedia Commons

World Expos have long been important in advancing architectural innovation and discourse. Many of our most beloved monuments were designed and constructed specifically for world’s fairs, only to remain as iconic fixtures in the cities that host them. But what is it about Expos that seem to create such lasting architectural landmarks, and is this still the case today? Throughout history, each new Expo offered architects an opportunity to present radical ideas and use these events as a creative laboratory for testing bold innovations in design and building technology. World’s fairs inevitably encourage competition, with every country striving to put their best foot forward at almost any cost. This carte blanche of sorts allows architects to eschew many of the programmatic constraints of everyday commissions and concentrate on expressing ideas in their purest form. Many masterworks such as Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion (better known as the Barcelona Pavilion) for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition are so wholeheartedly devoted to their conceptual approach that they could only be possible in the context of an Exposition pavilion.

To celebrate the opening of Expo Milano 2015 tomorrow, we’ve rounded up a few of history’s most noteworthy World Expositions to take a closer look at their impact on architectural development.

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