Solar radiation is one of the most important criteria in architectural projects, as it impacts several decisions ranging from the orientation of the building on the site to the choice of windows and doors. Therefore, to ensure the quality of lighting and visual comfort in building interiors, it is crucial to study the sun path and the quantity of sunlight in each given space.
Visual comfort does not necessarily imply providing as much light as possible into interior spaces but rather optimizing the use of light, which means sometimes allowing light into the interiors, and sometimes blocking it. Any solution must therefore be based on the requirements of each space and the context in which it is located.
There are many different strategies to achieve great natural lighting and visual comfort in interiors, such as large windows, courtyards, clerestory windows, and skylights. In some cases, light must be blocked or controlled using design elements such as sun baffles, lattice panels, screen blocks, pergolas, and others.
For example, in the renovation of the Atlântica House, AR Arquitetos redefined the central area of the residence by introducing a double-height ceiling, with a huge square surface placed over the void, surrounded by skylights to provide natural light. The daylight floods the interiors with a soft, uniform but also ever-changing light. According to the design team, this way, "the environment can take on a bluish tint on sunny days, gray on rainy days, orange in the late afternoon, constantly changing, revealing the subtle nuances of the light spectrum and its intensity over the absence of color."
In the NB Residence, by Jacobsen Arquitetura, the architects created large eaves and balconies to protect the upper floor from excessive solar radiation ensuring greater visual comfort in the interior spaces. The first floor, on the other hand, was designed as an open and integrated space, in which the entrance operates as a transition between interior and exterior, emphasized by the presence of natural light provided by a pergola made of wood.
Another visual comfort strategy is to create empty spaces with high ceilings for a better distribution of natural light. The KS Residence project, by Arquitetos Associados, uses this technique by featuring a large, three-story interior void which was designed based on the study of local environmental conditions and the client's desire for privacy. Furthermore, the brick lattice design of the facades allows for natural lighting and ventilation of the interior.
The Ownerless House nº 01 by the office Vão was designed not as an object but as a route back to the interior with alternating open and closed spaces where natural light and reflections change according to the time and the season. These striking characteristics can be observed in the interior courtyard, which is covered by a continuous pergola built with prefabricated screen blocks.
The GGL House, by Studio AG Arquitetura, plays with the concepts of full and empty through openings that highlight the effect of natural light in the environments throughout the day. Slatted bi-fold windows serve as sun baffles for the bedroom areas, and the asymmetrical gable roof was designed to provide room for a solarium.
To achieve greater integration with the external area, natural lighting, and cross ventilation in all environments, the architectural program of the FVB House was divided into three blocks. The project by Claudia Haguiara Arquitetura also features sliding panels made of red wooden lattices as a means of controlling solar radiation in the interior areas according to the needs of the residents.
The quotes in the text were taken from the descriptions provided by the architects.
This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: Interior Wellbeing. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.