People have fundamental needs that must be met in order to survive, which include: oxygen, water, food, sleep, and shelter. They also have secondary requirements, one of which is daylight. When thinking about how buildings can keep people healthy, it is important to remember that daylighting is essential to wellness, in fact, human circadian rhythms are dependent on it.
Daylight: The Latest Architecture and News
Lighting design for exhibition spaces in museums can be quite challenging because light must simultaneously enhance the space, preserve the integrity of the artworks and highlight them in a way that ensures the best conditions for the visitor's enjoyment.
In addition to having the highest CRI (Color Rendering Index), daylight contributes to a feeling of comfort and well-being in the built environment. In exhibition spaces, natural lighting is important to accurately reveal the colors of the objects on display, which is very significant for works of art and provides more visual comfort for visitors to clearly perceive the exhibits.
In a 2016 survey of 400 employees in the U.S., Saint-Gobain found that office building occupants commonly complained about poor lighting, temperature, noise, and air quality, leading the company to deduce a need for improved lighting and thermal comfort in buildings while also maintaining low energy consumption and freedom of design for architects and clients. Their solution was SageGlass, an innovative glass created first in 1989 and developed over the course of the past three decades. The glass, which features dynamic glazing protecting from solar heat and glare, simultaneously optimizes natural light intake. A sustainable and aesthetic solution, SageGlass’ adaptability to external conditions dispels the need for shutters or blinds.
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.
When designing a space, architects across the board tout the importance, and even necessity, of incorporating natural light into interiors. This means taking measures to control the quantity of light being let in and its distribution throughout the space.
In the case of residential spaces, where privacy plays a larger role than in public spaces like offices, restaurants, and stores, opaque materials like screens, tinted glass, and other barriers are the go-tos for providing protection and privacy from the outside; however, the privacy that these methods provide often comes at the cost of the space's natural lighting, forcing designers to seek alternative materials that allow for both light and privacy.
While some aspects of comfort and well-being in an indoor environment are related to external factors, such as natural lighting and ventilation, others are directly associated with the interior layout and the sensations created by architecture in the people living in that space.
It is always challenging to balance all of the elements that can provide greater comfort and well-being in interior design, particularly in small environments that must be fully optimized since it is not always possible to create large openings to the outside or even to accommodate the whole architectural program in a conventional manner.
Walking down the streets of cities like Hanoi and Saigon in Vietnam, you might encounter houses with surprisingly narrow facades in contrast to the stacking of three to five floors, with windows for ventilation and natural light only on the front facade. These are the famous traditional Tube Houses. According to ancient popular culture, this type of housing emerged due to property taxes being based on the width of the facade, but the true reason is to optimize land use, allowing a larger number of plots in the same square.
However, this legacy is now being recreated in contemporary designs by Vietnamese architects. Old facades give way to innovative solutions featuring atriums for natural lighting and ventilation, courtyards and interior gardens, greenery incorporated into different environments, split-levels, etc., allowing for high-quality spaces. With that in mind, we have put together a selection of Tube Houses, together with their respective section drawings. Check out below:
In dystopian films, it is a common trope to depict the sky as filled with a thick fog, blocking the sun's rays and bringing a dark atmosphere to the scenes. Whether in Blade Runner or in a Black Mirror episode, the lack of sun commonly represents a future we would rather not live in. The sun provides heat to planet Earth and is a great source of light energy, essential for the survival of many living creatures. We can generate electricity from the sun and still use only a fraction of the energy it provides. Sunlight also regulates our circadian cycle, which affects our mood. But recent forest fires and industrial pollution in some large cities have already made the dystopian blockage of sun a relatively common phenomenon, depriving hours of sunshine from many inhabitants. Concurrently, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are living a plot that few science fiction writers could have predicted, and new technologies and solutions have emerged to try to contain the spread of this invisible enemy. Can the sun, or specifically ultraviolet radiation, kill viruses and bacteria? Could it kill the coronavirus?
In 2016, the last modern masterpiece designed by world renowned architect Marcel Breuer, the Atlanta Fulton County Public Library, was slated for demolition. One of the Fulton County commissioners described the original design as looking “more like a jail” than a welcoming space for learning and productivity. To save the iconic building from the wrecking ball, changes would have to be made. This case study from cove.tool shows how energy and daylighting analysis is useful not only in new construction, but for revitalizing existing buildings as well.
Whether by traditional windows, linear openings in the wall, or skylights, the manipulation and incorporation of natural lighting in architectural projects can render a radical change in interior spaces.
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.
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.
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.
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.