In the realm of media architecture and its role in supporting struggles for social justice, the recent Media Architecture Biennale 2023 (MAB23) in Toronto, Canada, shed light on a captivating aspect: The rapid and vast propagation of solidarity lighting in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The synchronized illuminations, infused with activism and global art projects, became a powerful emblem of worldwide support for Ukraine during its time of crisis. Two emphatic female political leaders in Europe initiated the lighting solidarity message. Surprisingly, the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag illumination on iconic buildings worldwide defined an image of solidarity even faster in the press than large crowds of people in anti-war protests the weekend after the war began.
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Richard Kelly illuminated some of the twentieth century’s most iconic buildings: the Glass House, Seagram Building and Kimbell Art Museum, to name a few. His design strategy was surprisingly simple but extremely successful.
Lighting for architecture has been and still often is dominated by an engineering viewpoint, resigned to determining sufficient illuminance levels for a safe and efficient working environment. With a background in stage lighting, Kelly introduced a scenographic perspective for architectural lighting. His point of view might look self-evident to today’s architectural community, but it was revolutionary for his time and has strongly influenced modern architecture.
When transparent facade elements deliberately evolve from the course of the sun, we can explore a fascinating slow movement in stark contrast to the hectic urban street life on the ground. Especially the French designer Pierre Brault has responded to the accelerated rhythm of our society with facade installations that combine the principle of the sundial with colorful pop design. His three-dimensional works made of recycled colored plexiglass mesmerize through simple but dramatic movements of colored shadows. In the interview, Brault explains his inspiration, the experimental approach and his interest in working responsibly with material.
Imagine if light would not only provide optimum visibility for tasks but convey meanings as well. Standards with recommended lux levels for various visual tasks have led to a quantitative understanding of lighting. However, lighting can also be used to contribute to emotion in rooms and to structure architecture. Would it be adequate to regard lighting as language sent by architects or interior designers and being received by inhabitants and citizens? Adding a semiotic perspective can help to recognize how light and shadow contributes to the meaning of the built environment.
Light is an essential element to perceive architecture and to live and work in buildings. Therefore architects, lighting designers, teachers, and researchers have written inspirational books about light. They have shared their valuable theories and turned their experience into guidelines to improve daylight design and the art of illumination.
This collection offers a useful source of the best lighting design books for students, professionals, and academics. The book list is grouped into categories: Daylight, illumination, urban lighting, media facades, landscape lighting, light collections, culture, monography, history, stage lighting, and light art. In each section, the volumes appear in alphabetical order with recent books in the beginning followed by classic publications. Discover fascinating publications that will enlighten your perception and understanding of light and space.
As farmers water crops by moonlight, undocumented children head to school and villagers scan the sky for surveillance airplanes—these are glimpses of a complex culture that emerges in south Lebanon after dark. In collecting some of these nightly practices, Mohamad Nahleh—lecturer in architecture and urbanism at MIT—journeyed across the landscapes of Jabal ‘Amil hoping to build a new alliance between architecture and the night. His "Path of Nightrise" research has turned into a construction to revive a forgotten river path and was published by Places Journal. The interview with Nahleh argues for a new nocturnal imagination in design and reveals, not only how the night has changed in Lebanon over time, but also how he has changed alongside it.
When capital cities like Paris and Berlin resolved to switch off lighting for public buildings and landmarks in July 2022 in order to save energy in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the cities created a ripple effect throughout central Europe. Images of dark iconic landmarks swept through the media and allowed politicians a momentary act of environmental demonstration. However, designers have started to question the sustainability of this ad hoc step. Seen from a broader perspective the impression arises that this alleged radical action has been part of a rather media-savvy campaign with small effect in cities at night. Further steps are necessary to reassess urban lighting that may have a major impact on energy saving and sustainability.
Using only natural light to document English cathedrals can turn into a logistical and technical challenge. However, Peter Marlow's photography has resulted in a remarkable series of iconic spiritual sites whose contemplative atmosphere is rarely accessible to others. Looking east with the camera towards the nave as the dawn light streamed through the main window opens a purist and mystical perspective to the time when these sacred structures were erected.
The motto of the Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 was to convert and expand rather than to demolish and reconstruct. Recycling windows, using biodegradable materials for luminaires and connecting light with sensors represented just some innovative examples of the international university-level student competition in Wuppertal, Germany. For the first time, the competition presented an award for sustainable architectural lighting. This was a question of quality as much as quantity, and that applies equally to daylight and artificial light.
With buildings glazed on all sides and very brightly as well as monotonously lit rooms, it's no surprise that we long for indoor and outdoor retreats that are less bright. Places with shade from glaring sun, dimmed rooms and exciting contrasts act on the eyes like a welcome oasis. High energy consumption and globally increasing light pollution show how acute the problem of too much light is and the alarming rate of contribution toward climate change. For a better future, it is imperative to explore ways in which we can design and focus on using darkness.
Outside of China, media facades usually appear as proud individualists vying for attention at night. In China, however, you can find large groups of media facades with a common message in numerous metropolitan areas. These media facades visually merge multiple skyscrapers into a panoramic entity. But what are the reasons that this phenomenon is unique to China? And how did it start? The Media Architecture Biennale linked culture and politics to provide an answer to the emergence of media scapes in China.
Buildings show normally slow responses to current social issues. However, in the case of the Coronavirus, dynamic media facades have started to send messages of empathy to the citizens of Wuhan. At first, the Chinese government used screens covering complete buildings to create powerful images of hope and solidarity. Later, some countries like the United Arab Emirates joined this effort while a majority of countries has not followed so far.
At first glance, it seems that Apple's strong retail design has derived from consistent design. But since Steve Jobs opened the first Apple Store in 2001, the brand has changed its store and lighting design concept five times. Thereby change appears as a central factor when a brand grows and expands internationally. For each period Apple developed sophisticated details and has strived for the perfect sky in their store - a smart strategy to enhance naturalness and sustainability.
Light Collective, founders of the project "Women in Lighting", conclude that although female designers seem to make up possibly half of the lighting design profession, their profile appears much lower than men when looking at judges in awards and speakers at major conferences. Sharon Stammers and Martin Lupton started a project with interviews of female lighting designers and contacted conference organizers to enhance their visibility.
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."
In Luis Barragán’s poetic imagination color plays as significant a role as dimension or space. Rough textures and water reflections heighten the impact of bright sunlight in his colorful buildings. But where does such vibrancy come from and how is it heightened by the architecture itself?