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Light Matters: Heightening The Perception Of Daylight With Henry Plummer (Part 1)

Therme Vals, Switzerland by Peter Zumthor. Image © Henry Plummer 2000

Architecture professor and photographer Henry Plummer has heightened the transformative power of daylight with his cameras and published several remarkable books about light and architecture. His deep interest in light, and his lyrical writing perspective, were formed through his contact with the designer and art theorist György Kepes while studying at MIT. Within his numerous photo journeys Plummer has documented the various facets of daylight in Japan and the Nordic Countries, and of masters like Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. As a Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Plummer also still has ambitious plans for future book projects. In the first part of this interview, Plummer shares a variety of insights about understanding light and approaching buildings for photography.

Light Matters: Learning From Vernacular Windows

Window in Osaka, Japan. Image © VELUX Group

Before computer daylight simulations were used to optimize the atmosphere and energy in buildings, generations of builders developed simple principles to create the best windows for their site. Two lighting experts have studied these traditional openings in buildings to find inspiration for more sustainable designs today. Francesco Anselmo, a lighting designer at Arup, and John Mardaljevic, Professor of Building Daylight Modelling at the School of Civil & Building Engineering of Loughborough University, have analysed the sun and skylight variations from northern regions like Stockholm down to the equator in cities like Haiti or Abu Dhabi.

Read on to learn more about the variety of traditional windows.

Light Matters: Le Corbusier and the Trinity of Light

View looking south to “upwardly springing” waves of light. Church of Saint-Pierre, Firminy, . Image © Henry Plummer 2011

For his three sacred buildings, Le Corbusier has played masterfully with orientation, openings and textures to create kinetic architecture with . His pilgrimage chapel at Ronchamp, themonastery of Sainte Marie de La Tourette, and the parish church of Saint-Pierre in Firminy reveal distinctive and individual approaches that each render contemplative spaces with light. In his book “Cosmos of Light: The Sacred Architecture of Le Corbusier,” Henry Plummer, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has analysed these projects with outstanding photographs taken over 40 years and brilliant writing.

Read on for more about how Le Corbusier created his cosmos of light.

Light Matters: UN Celebrates The International Year of Light 2015

Armani Fifth Avenue, . Architect: Fuksas Architects. Lighting design: Speirs + Major. Photo: Allan Toft.

Image © Speirs + Major

Light is all around us, and it increasingly affects our daily lives. For example, we have started to carry personal light sources around with our smartphones, and in our homes many electrical machines now utilize light to display information and simply to appear more attractive. In a larger context, architecture and cities have also developed a new dimension with the advent of electrical lighting for work and entertainment.

Inspired by the central role of light for our culture and technology, the United Nations has proclaimed 2015 as the “International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies” (IYL2015). With IYL2015 the UN wants to raise the awareness of the importance of light and optical technologies in our lives, our future and the development of society.

Read on after the break for more enlightenment around IYL2015.

Light Matters: 7 Ways Lighting Can Make Architecture More Sustainable

Sustainable at HDI Gerling Headquarters. Architects: ingenhoven architects, http://www.ingenhovenarchitects.com. design: Tropp , http://www.tropp-.com. Image © Hans Georg Esch, http://www.hgesch.de

Sustainable lighting design offers various well-being and environmental benefits in addition to economic advantages for clients and users. Although daylight provides a free lighting source,  for most spaces the amount and time of daylight is not sufficient and electrical lighting is necessary. A focus on becomes essential for minimizing energy consumption and improving the quality of life. Even though efficiency has significantly increased with LED technology, electrical lighting is still more widely used. Often the ambition for renovations or new applications goes along with a higher quantity of lighting instead of finding a better lighting quality with an adequate amount of energy.

Read on after the break for Light Matters’ 7 fundamental steps to achieve sustainable lighting.

Light Matters: Mashrabiyas – Translating Tradition into Dynamic Facades

INSTITUT DU MONDE ARABE, Paris, (1981 – 1987). Architecture: Jean Nouvel, Gilbert Lézénès, Pierre Soria, Architecture Studio. Image © Georges Fessy

The delicate mashrabiya has offered effective protection against intense sunlight in the Middle East for several centuries. However, nowadays this traditional Islamic window element with its characteristic latticework is used to cover entire buildings as an oriental ornament, providing local identity and a sun-shading device for cooling. In fact, designers have even transformed the vernacular wooden structure into high-tech responsive daylight systems.

Jean Nouvel is one of the leading architects who has strongly influenced the debate about modern mashrabiyas.  His Institut du monde arabe in Paris was only the precedent to two buildings he designed for the harsh sun of the Middle East: The Doha Tower, which is completely wrapped with a re-interpretation of the mashrabiya, and the Louvre museum with its luminous dome.

More mashrabiyas, after the break…

    

Light Matters: 7 Ways Daylight Can Make Design More Sustainable

Kaap Skil, Maritime and Beachcombers’ Museum, Winner of the Daylight Award 2012. Image Courtesy of Mecanoo Architecten

 

Daylight is a highly cost-effective means of reducing the energy for electrical lighting and cooling. But architectural education often reduces the aspect of daylight to eye-catching effects on facades and scarcely discusses its potential effects – not just on cost, but on health, well-being and energy.

This Matters will explore the often unexplored aspects of daylight and introduce key strategies for you to better incorporate daylight into design: from optimizing building orientations to choosing interior surface qualities that achieve the right reflectance. These steps can significantly reduce your investment as well as operating costs. And while these strategies will certainly catch the interest of economically orientated clients, you will soon discover that daylight can do so much more.

Schielke, Thomas. 2015. Light Matters | Archdaily. Archdaily.com. Available at: <http://www.archdaily.com/tag/light-matters&gt; [10/1/2015]

 

I realised that sustainable lighting offers various well beings and environmental benefits as well as economic advantages

In this way, l have tried to employ natural sunlight where possible by wall openings in the structure to be eco friendly in design. In certain areas of the building, little lighting was required to relate with the theme of the darkness of ignorance.

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