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Daylight: The Latest Architecture and News

Natural Light Enhances Progressive Learning at Hessenwald School

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Hessenwald School in Weiterstadt, Germany, is an example of energy-efficient, contemporary architecture that offers a new teaching and pedagogical model. At the centre of both model and building stands a well-lit and well-ventilated three-storey atrium.

Juha Leiviskä, Russell Foster and Henry Plummer receive The Daylight Award 2020

On the UNESCO International Day of Light, The Daylight Award announces its 2020 Laureates: Juhai Leiviskä for his architecture, Russell Foster for his research, and this year, exceptionally, The Daylight Award is also given to Henry Plummer for his lifetime achievement.

'While laureate Russell Foster studies the science behind the effect of light on human behaviour and physical and mental wellbeing, laureates Juha Leiviskä and Henry Plummer approach the effects and implications of daylight intuitively through architectural design, photographic expression and verbal mediation of these human responses. Whether elucidating the neural effects of light or invoking the poetic essence of light, the laureates of the 2020 Daylight Award demonstrate to us the power of natural light,' states the jury.

Call for Entries: Bringing Light to Life Awards for Architecture & Design

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Bringing Light to Life Awards for Architecture & Design. Image Courtesy of VELUX
Bringing Light to Life Awards for Architecture & Design. Image Courtesy of VELUX

The BLL Awards for Architecture & Design comes from “Bringing light to life” which is the slogan of VELUX world brand for roof windows, which distribute daylight and fresh air into buildings through the roof. The idea of the Awards is to popularize good architecture, from architects and designers across countries in the CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) region, which demonstrates the effective distribution of daylight into buildings and the utilization of the space under the roof elements. It is a platform to showcase the work and products of architects and designers to a global audience. This year is the 6th edition of the BLL Awards, and is now open for entries. Seven countries from the CEE region are included – Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Turkey.

When Sunlight Meets Tadao Ando’s Concrete

Koshino House, Ashiya-shi / Japan. Image © Kazunori FujimotoChurch of the Light, Osaka / Japan. Image © Naoya FujiiModern Art Museum, Fort Worth / USA. Image © Todd Landry PhotographyScreenshot of video of Hill of the Buddha at the Makomanai Takino Cemetery, Sapporo / Japan. Image © Hokkaido Fan Magazine+ 8

If there is any consistent factor in his work, says Pritzker-winning architect Tadao Ando, then it is the pursuit of light. Ando’s complex choreography of light fascinates most when the viewer experiences the sensitive transitions within his architecture. Sometimes walls wait calmly for the moment to reveal striking shadow patterns, and other times water reflections animate unobtrusively solid surfaces. His combination of traditional Japanese architecture with a vocabulary of modernism has contributed greatly to critical regionalism. While he is concerned with individual solutions that have a respect for local sites and contexts Ando’s famous buildings – such as the Church of the Light, Koshino House or the Water Temple – link the notion of regional identity with a modern imagining of space, material and light. Shoji walls with diffuse light are reinterpreted in the context of another culture, for instance, filtered through the lens of Rome’s ancient Pantheon, where daylight floods through an oculus. Ando’s masterly imagination culminates in planning spatial sequences of light and dark like he envisioned for the Fondation d’Art Contemporain François Pinault in Paris.

30 Open Bathrooms: Incorporating Breeze and Nature in Private Space

The private space is usually associated with hiding what goes on inside, allowing people to have certain moments of intimacy. Habitually, bathrooms have been designed for this purpose, reducing openings to a minimum or — sometimes — eliminating them completely.

However, being such an important space within a building, bathrooms have become an object of new exploration for architects. By blurring the limits of privacy — without losing it completely — these spaces are open to the outdoors, allowing the breeze to enter. How does this new experience feel? Check out 30 open bathrooms that play with the feeling of exhibitionism, without fully revealing what is happening inside.

© Sean Fennessy© Luis Gordoa© Shannon McGrathTreeVilla at Forest Hills / Architecture BRIO. Image © Photographix+ 37

Sun-Filled Spaces Created By Skylights In 20 Architectural Projects

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.

© Mathias Kestel© Hufton + Crow© Christian Richters© Andrew Lee+ 44

Why Norman Foster Scoops Daylight into his Buildings

While many architects consider windows for brightening interior spaces, Norman Foster is intrigued by natural light from above. The British star architect has long held Louis Kahn and Alvar Aalto in high esteem for how they handled daylight - especially with regard to the roof. In particular large public buildings benefit from this strategy creating enjoyable spaces. Therefore, Foster regards daylight from above as indispensable when he develops megastructures for airports on the ground or tall skyscrapers for work. But daylight from above is much more than an aesthetic dimension, remarks Foster: "Quite apart from the humanistic and poetic qualities of natural light there are also energy implications."

Building Better Schools: 6 Ways to Help Our Children Learn

© Velux Group
© Velux Group

Did you know that 64 million European children spend more time at school than anywhere else other than their home? European children spend approximately 200 days each year at their primary schools. With this information, how do we go about designing healthier classrooms that create productive learning environments? This question is perhaps more important than ever, as this will be the first time since the 1970s that Europe and the UK will see a boom in the construction and renovation of schools. What a tremendous opportunity this is for both architects and educators to rethink what an educational facility should be and how the physical environment can be designed to have a positive impact on learning.

© Velux Group© Velux Group© Velux Group© Velux Group+ 22

Diffused Light: How to Design 'Lantern Buildings' With Self-Supporting Glass Walls

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art / Steven Holl Architects. Image © Andy RyanC-Glass House / Deegan Day Design. Image © Taiyo WatanabeMagnolia Mound Visitors Center / Trahan Architects. Image © Timothy HursleyNelson Atkins Museum of Art / Steven Holl. Image Cortesía de Bendheim+ 28

Recurrently we see how architects opt for translucent facades to create the envelopes of their buildings, promoting the entry of a large amount of natural light, while simultaneously controlling it during the day. Illuminated during the night, many of these projects can be seen in the dark, appearing as lanterns or lighthouses for their neighbors and community. Being exposed to changing conditions – day or night – to choose the right material, it's necessary to study in detail the orientation and location of the building, the pre-existing context, and the configuration of the interior spaces.

We present a system of glass panels that allow buildings with this type of façade –spanning from floor to ceiling without interruptions – with minimal frames and different colors, textures, thermal and acoustic performances. 

Meet the 9 Regional Winners of the 2018 International VELUX Award for Students of Architecture

Held every two years, the International VELUX Award challenges students to generate projects that take advantage of daylight, with the aim of developing a deeper understanding of this energy source.

A jury of renowned architects chose 9 regional winners for its 2018 iteration, who will now compete for the winning title at the World Architecture Festival in November. The winners were chosen from projects presented by students from 250 different architecture schools in 58 countries.

Hiroshi Sambuichi Wins 2018 Daylight Award for His "Timeless, Fluid" Treatment of Light

Hiroshi Sambuichi's approach to a site entails long-term study and reflection upon the qualities and forces of nature embedded within. His understanding is “deeper and with a finer grain,” explains American architect and member of The Daylight Award jury James Carpenter as one of several reasons why Sambuichi was recently announced as the latest laureate of the nearly 50-year-old Daylight Award in 2018. In Sambuichi's hands, “light becomes timeless, fluid and rich.”

Naoshima Hall. Image © Shigeo OgawaRokko Observatory. Image © Sambuichi ArchitectsMiyajima Misen Observatory. Image © Sambuichi ArchitectsInujima Seirensho Art Museum. Image © Daici Ano+ 12

Custom Bamboo Skylight Illuminates the Interior of a Historic Building in China

In response to the overwhelming growth of cities and neighborhoods in China, architects from Atelier Archmixing’s Shanghai office, have developed a series of proposals that seek to return value to sensitive interior spaces and improve the user’s quality of life through design.

The project consists of an interesting light fixture; a bamboo structure similar in shape to an umbrella, that lets natural light and fresh air into the building.

Stefan Behnisch, Omar Gandhi and Anne Lacaton Explain the Role of Light at the 7th Daylight Symposium in Berlin

Under the theme "Healthy & Climate Friendly Architecture - From Knowledge to Practice", the 7th VELUX Daylight Symposium, held in Berlin on 3-4 May 2017, was attended by 39 speakers from research and architectural practice.

Participants were able to contrast the information presented by researchers with the 'built experience' of architects from Europe, Canada and USA, generating interesting discussions about the need to go deeper in the understanding of this natural resource, and then design more effectively.

These are the highlights from the event.

Anne Lacaton: LIVE KEYNOTE from the 7th VELUX Daylight Symposium

Anne Lacaton (France) is an award-winning architect and part of the duo Lacaton & Vassal, having made reuse of existing materials and integration of daylighting in standard construction their signature architecture and adding a social dimension to architectural design.

Omar Gandhi: LIVE KEYNOTE from the 7th VELUX Daylight Symposium

Omar Gandhi (Canada) from Omar Gandhi Architect is recognized as one of the world’s top 20 young architects by Wallpaper* Magazine and as one of 2016’s ‘Emerging Voices’ by The Architectural League of New York will be one of four keynote presentations by critically acclaimed architects that will be live-streamed from the international forum for daylight and architecture, the VELUX Daylight Symposium, to be held for the 7th time, 3-4 May 2017.

Stefan Behnisch: LIVE KEYNOTE from the 7th VELUX Daylight Symposium

Stefan Behnisch (Germany) from Behnisch Architekten, an award-winning architect and advocate of sustainable design, is one of four keynote presentations by critically acclaimed architects that will be live-streamed from the international forum for daylight and architecture, the VELUX Daylight Symposium, to be held for the 7th time, 3-4 May 2017.

Steven Holl Wins 2016 Daylight Award in Architecture

Steven Holl has been awarded the 2016 Daylight Award in Architecture, which honors architects “who have distinguished themselves by realizing architecture or creating urban environments that showcase a unique use of daylight, for the benefit of overall quality of life, its impact on human health, well-being and performance, and its value to society.”

International VELUX Award 2016 for Students of Architecture - Competition Live Stream

Watch the ten regional winners of the International VELUX Award 2016 for Students of Architecture present their daylight-inspired projects at the World Architecture Festival in a live streamed event before the jury selects the two global winners!