There have been several posts dealing with light in architecture on this Material Strategies site and tonight, while browsing Pinterest, I have decided that it is time I present my take on light in architecture. I would like to preface this post stating that I have a strong interest in residential architecture and that my ideas of light in architecture have generally been in direct consideration to how one lives in/around/with light and/or darkness. That being said, light plays an important roll in all building types so images and examples I give will show things from various points on the spectrum of building types.
The light source that is most important to architecture, as it is to life, is the sun. I believe this because the earth, circling the sun whilst rotating on its own axis creates a relationship with the sun that provides, for stationary buildings on earth, a natural dynamism of lighting throughout a space. Designers for centuries have worked with this natural yearly pattern to help bring buildings to life. With an ever-changing source of light, designers are given the opportunity to make ever-changing spaces if only they utilize what the sun has to offer, shaping the built world around what light has to offer.
When filtering through all of the examples of light in architecture I was thinking about all of the ways that one might describe natural light – perhaps I’m biased for natural light, but no adjective I came up with was negative. While scrolling through the following images of the greatest examples of light in architecture I could find – think about how you would describe what light means to you, how it makes you feel, or what you think it does for you.
After seeing my favorite examples I invite you to feel free to disagree with my descriptions and/or let me know your thoughts/descriptors so I can learn from a broader audience in designing spaces. Light in architecture, to me, has the ability to persuade a number of feelings or emotions to occupants. Natural light is powerful, spiritual, healing, warming, soothing, bright, energizing, sensual, and alive. Light is all of these adjectives to me, which is why I think that it is important to really design for the light that we are given instead of ignoring it which results often in measures of control that muddle the original design intent.