The following list of books that every architect should read covers the subjects about designing with natural and artificial light, ranging from interior design, through buildings and their facades, to the urban scale and environmental lighting. Professional knowledge supported by science, history and modern technologies, is what you will get rich after reading the following items. 

The experiences of the authors of the books—mostly architects and lighting designers and presented realizations of buildings from around the world—can be an inspiration for your study or work design. Brief descriptions attached to every one of the books hopefully will be helpful to choose books that will be the most helpful for you.

1. Daylighting: Natural Light in Architecture – Derek Phillips

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Daylighting: Natural Light in Architecture – Derek Phillips_©amazon.com

This book about the use of natural light in architecture consists of two parts: theory and implementation. In the first of them, Derek Philips takes into consideration information regarding the history of lighting design, environmental factors, energy and calculations of natural and artificial lighting. The second part studies the cases with the use of natural light, divided into eight categories depending on the function of the building, among others: offices, residential, education and ecclesiastical. 

The discussed examples of known buildings designed in cooperation with architects and lighting consultants are an invaluable source of knowledge.       

2. The Architecture of Light – Sage Russell

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The Architecture of Light – Sage Russell _©amazon.com

Sage Russell offers a book for architects, interior designers and lighting designers with his reliable knowledge about concepts and techniques of lighting design. He shares his experience as a lighting designer not only by the text but also with the use of graphic tools like diagrams, charts, sketches and photos. 

Following through the fundamentals of light in architecture that explain the physical basics of light, the physiology of vision and colour science, the author goes on to designing light aspects taking into account textures, shapes, types of light and locations of the light source. In the final part, the book contains tips for selecting luminaires with examples of the use of products from specific manufacturers. 

More information about the book and author can be found at this link: http://www.lightingtextbook.com/PRAISE.htm

3. Light in architecture – Chris Van Uffelen

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Light in architecture – Chris Van Uffelen_©amazon.com

This publication contains examples of 123 projects from all over the world that present the proper use of both artificial and natural light in architecture. This book which can be also called a photo album presents the case studies of both interiors and facades illumination. 

Taking into account as well the visual and economic aspects, there are various realizations shown like the Air Traffic Control Tower in Vienna, the Ave Maria Chapel in Naples or Deloitte Headquarters in Copenhagen. 

More information about the book at this link: https://www.braun-publishing.ch/en/architecture/light-in-architecture.html

4. Light in Architecture: The Intangible Material – Elisa Valero Ramos

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Light in Architecture: The Intangible Material – Elisa Valero Ramos_©https://aabookshop.net/?wpsc-product=light-in-architecture-the-intangible-material

This book by Elisa Valero Ramos, the award-winning architect from Spain, gives briefly a scope for the role of light in architecture and professional tips about working with the light. The author focuses on the scope of lights and colours, their changes over the day and the impact of the forms and textures for lights and shadow effect. 

As Newton claimed, “white” light is the natural light that contains the whole visible spectrum of wavelengths, and which therefore enables colours to be seen without alteration – what we call “real” colour. When light itself is coloured, it has only certain wavelengths (…)The colour that is perceived under such light is known as “apparent” colour. (Ramos, 2015)

5. Architectural Lighting Design – Admir Jukanović

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Architectural Lighting Design – Admir Jukanović_©amazon.com

This practical guide by Admir Jukanović, lighting designer and the director of an international lighting design consultancy, contains tips for proper interior lighting, the choice of light temperature and colour, and finally the light source. The author explains professionally the fundamentals of light in architecture and lighting techniques based on successful realizations. 

The book also presents the design method dividing the project into five phases from concept to commission, concept documents of lighting design, tips for understanding the whole lighting design process and common mistakes to avoid.

6. Fundamentals of Lighting – Susan M. Winchip

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Fundamentals of Lighting – Susan M. Winchip_©https://www.bloomsbury.com/in/fundamentals-of-lighting-9781501317675/

This book, 3rd Edition, is addressed for students interested in lighting design and aspiring to become interior designers. The author is a Professor of Interior and Environmental Design with credibility in the green building and 30 years of experience in teaching design and working with clients. 

Susan Winchip explains the fundamentals of light in architecture by referring to the topics related to the lighting system, lighting in the interior architecture and design process. She also shares her knowledge about business practice, regulations, the LEED building certification programme and sustainability. This book is recommended for everybody who wants to enhance his knowledge about lighting design.

7. The Art of Architectural Daylighting – Mary Guzowski

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The Art of Architectural Daylighting – Mary Guzowski_©amazon.com

Choreographed, atmospheric, sculpted, structured, material, integrated… Mary Guzowski uses all these terms to describe light. In her book, you can find analyses of twelve buildings that present good light in architecture with its drawings, plans, photos and professional technical diagrams. The described projects are well-known architectural icons with a professional approach to lighting design. 

Among others, you can get to know more about Ulltveit-Moe Pavilion in Norway, Chapel of St. Lawrence in Finland, ANDO Museum in Japan, and Clyfford Still Museum in Denver. 

More about this book and some of the pages can be seen at https://www.uropublications.com/products/the-art-of-architectural-daylighting

8. The Architecture of Light: Recent Approaches to Designing with Natural Light – Mary Ann Steane

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The Architecture of Light: Recent Approaches to Designing with Natural Light – Mary Ann Steane_©amazon.com

Not only does the book argue that natural light remains a fundamentally important source of orientation in architecture, but it underlines how and why the art of daylighting imposes creative discipline on design. (Steane, 2011). Mary Ann Steane shows recent approaches to designing with natural light basing on the chosen iconic buildings constructed from 1950 to the twenty-first century. 

This book is divided into ten chapters, each of which focuses on one or two buildings presenting an extraordinary approach to light in architecture. If you want to discover details about Le Corbusier’s Une Petite Maison and La Chapelle in Ronchamp, get to know about the vulnerable openings of Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin or understand the idea of light and shadow in Herzog and De Meuron’s Tate Modern at London’s Bankside Power Station, you should read this publication.

9. The Architecture of Natural Light – Henry Plummer

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The Architecture of Natural Light – Henry Plummer_©amazon.com

This book shows the natural illumination effect in dozens of contemporary buildings of the world top architects: Tadao Ando, Herzog & de Meuron, Peter Zumthor, Frank Gehry, Alberto Campo Baeza, Rafael Moneo, Rem Koolhaas, Riepl Riepl, Henning Larsen, Heinz Tesar Norman Foster, Toyo Ito and many others. 

The author analyses the process of evanescence, procession, refraction, atomization, suffusion and luminescence that are a part of light in architecture. Henry Plummer presents a poetic and original approach to architecture which you cannot pass by indifferently.

10. High On… Light + Architecture – Manuela Kerkhoff

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High On… Light + Architecture – Manuela Kerkhoff _©amazon.com

High On…Light + Architecture is a book curated by Manuela Kerkhoff—an editor with a passion for architecture and design and a public relations consultant in an architecture firm. This publication illustrates 30 examples of different approaches to light in architecture, and shows how light can improve the quality of architecture and quality of life. 

The book shows the importance of human perception and changes in approach to design during the time. you can get to know how to manipulate with light to induce users emotions.

11. Residential Lighting Design – Marcus Steffen

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Residential Lighting Design – Marcus Steffen _©amazon.com

This book written by the experienced lighting designer is a handbook that teaches basics about proper lighting in the house interior. It gives knowledge about creating a pleasant atmosphere and a beautiful space with the use of light and shadow. 

Marcus Steffen shares advice on light controls and energy savings and instructions on preparing lighting plans for contractors and is an inspiration with creative ideas. By this book, you can understand the principles of designing light in architecture on the interior scale and understand how to operate with light and shadow. 

More information at https://www.mslightingdesign.co.uk/about

12. Urban Lighting for People – Riba Publishing

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Urban Lighting for People – Riba Publishing_©https://www.routledge.com/Urban-Lighting-for-People-Evidence-Based-Lighting-Design-for-the-Built/Davoudian/p/book/9781859468210#

The only position in this ranking that does not contain analysis about light in the architecture of one building but the analysis of the urban scale. This book explains how lighting should be designed in a way to create a safe and nice environment for people and what are the illumination possibilities to create a night picture of the city. 

The book focuses not only on the visual aspects but also contains research about the impact of lighting on behaviour and social interactions. The authors also provide valid examples and share the experience of designers.

13. The building as Screen: A History, Theory and Practice of Massive Media – Dave Colangelo

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The building as Screen: A History, Theory and Practice of Massive Media – Dave Colangelo_ ©amazon.com

This book takes a view on the light in architecture from a different perspective than previous positions. Illuminated large-format advertisements are responsible for a large part of the lighting of many building facades. Dave Colangelo relates to the topic of large outdoor projections and programmable facades based on history, theory and practice. 

The author presents as well the negative side and potential of these urban screens. Given examples describe the programmable lighting of well-known buildings like the Empire State Building but also the author’s projects.

14. Form and Light, from Bauhaus to Tel Aviv – Yigal Gawze

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Form and Light, from Bauhaus to Tel Aviv – Yigal Gawze _©amazon.com

This book contains photographs by Yigal Gawze that show the beauty of modernism in Tel Aviv. Presenting the assumption of Bauhaus in a modern city, the author focuses on natural light in architecture. Presented pictures give an image of this white city and highlight the importance of natural light in creating architectural forms.  This book is a good coursebook to enhance knowledge in the subject of light in architecture but also to explore the culture and history. 

More information at https://www.hirmerverlag.de/us/titel-1-1/form_and_light-1715/

15. Made of Light: The Art of Light and Architecture – Antonhy Tischhauser, Mark Major, Jonathan Speirs

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Made of Light: The Art of Light and Architecture – Antonhy Tischhauser, Mark Major, Jonathan Speirs _©amazon.com

Anthony Tischauser, Jonathan Speirs and Mark Major award-winning Lighting Architects and the authors of this book underline the importance of light in the world—its visual aspects, the use for security and communication. They show the importance of artificial light in fields where natural light can not be enough and present light as an inherent and integral part of architectural design. 

This book is filled with pictures and drawings of ideas and should be an inspiration for every lighting designer and architect.

References

Ramos, E.V. (2015). Light in Architecture: The Intangible Material. Newcastle upon Tyne: RIBA Publishing

Steane M.A. (2011). The Architecture of Light. Oxon: Routledge.

Author

An architect from Poland who was educated also in Finland. Being at the beginning of her career she looks for a balance between architecture and nature. Despite the interest in the history of architecture she search for modern design solutions.

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