Architectural Play on Light
The use of light in architecture is quite complex and a definite art form. Light is considered to be both a gift and tool when used in relation to space. Skilled architects have the ability to sculpt light and create a sense of intrigue and anticipation.
When designing a space there are so many things to consider with regard to light; how much light, the quality of light, how light is altered by weather and time of day, the fact that light is constantly changing, which direction the light is coming from, the colour of light and how light is amplified or reflected. All of these considerations combined with the design of a space can create a mood or generate an emotional connection or response.
Just as natural light is used to define a space, artificial light serves a purpose, which is increasingly much more than just for illumination at night. For example artificial light can be used to make a subterranean or darker space appear more open and friendly. Lighting design in relation to artificial light plays an important role in the design process. New lighting design concepts, technological advances and energy-saving LED lights provide a new level of sophistication and range of options in lighting design with seemingly endless possibilities in application. Artificial light can also be used to completely change the mood, ambience and perception of a space after dusk.
While the new and exciting world of artificial light creates excitement and wonder due to the possibilities, I personally have a great appreciation for the qualities natural light provides in architecture. Louis Kahn was recently quoted as saying “Architects in planning rooms today have forgotten their faith in natural light. Depending on the touch of a finger to a switch, they are satisfied with static light and forget the endlessly changing qualities of natural light, in which a room is a different room every second of the day.”
While we are seeing an increase in innovative lighting solutions in architectural projects, I don’t think that the art of sculpting natural light will ever loose it’s impact or value in the field of architecture.