Perhaps the most renowned 'skylight' ever built is the Pantheon of Rome commissioned by Marco Vipsanius Agrippa during the reign of Emperor Augustus (27 BC-14 AD) and rebuilt by Hadrian (117-118) around 126 AD. At the highest point of its dome (in this case, the oculus) the sunlight shines, casting its beams over the various statues of planetary deities that occupy the niches on the walls. The light that enters the space symbolizes a cosmic, sacred dimension. In projects around the world, natural light continues to fulfill this scenic role, especially in religious projects.
It is characterized as zenithal illumination as that which comes from above, from the sky (zenith). Very useful for large spaces that can not be adequately lit by windows, skylights are a widely used device for providing a pleasant, diffuse light. Generally, care is taken to prevent direct entry of sunlight; the openings must be well designed so that they do not overheat the space of allow water infiltration. Below is a collection of projects that make good use of this technique.
Usually used in buildings with inclined roofs, skylights are commonly located near the ridges, where natural light has difficulty reaching. It is interesting to note that most zenith openings are located in circulation spaces or bathrooms. This is because there is difficulty in controlling the incidence of light.
Schools and Colleges
In the FAU-USP building by Vilanova Artigas there are places where the building wants to turn more to its interior than to the exteriors. Where there are classrooms on both sides of a central hallway, it is important that there is some natural lighting, especially if we consider growing concerns about sustainability. In such cases, the skylights work very well.
Central courtyards, corridors and small yards can improve the coexistence of employees and the productivity of a business. If there is natural light in common spaces, it is more likely that people will want to go for a walk and a conversation.
Whether for a pavilion that seeks a certification of energy efficiency and sustainability or for a bathroom that seeks privacy and a connection with its surroundings, skylights can take various forms and cover diverse programs.