Louise Kahn had once said, “architecture appears for the first time when sunlight hits a wall”. It is true that light and shade is an essential component that gives an architecture an identity, it is like a cherry on top of a cake! In architecture, not only can natural lighting create a dynamic image to visitors, but sufficient lighting can also help save energy. So here are 10 examples of the innovative use of natural lighting in architecture!
1. The Exeter’s Library, New Hampshire
In the study area of the library, Louise Kahn used wood planks to define a smaller space for each individual next to the window. The best thing about each space is that they have an independent lighting source. Not only can natural lighting make us feel comfortable, but students can also relax by looking outside the window.
2. The Thermal Baths,Vals
The Thermal Baths in Vals consists of large windows that capture the mountain area outside the building like photo frames. Besides, sunlight brightens up the area next to the windows, creating a contrast between light and shadow. Not only can the large windows provide sufficient lighting to the room during the daytime, but it can also outstand the texture of the stone plank walls.
3. The Royal Mosque, Isfahan
In the opening of the prayer hall, different sizes of arches are used to create the various intensity of light intensity. Since the arches of the opening decrease in size, less light can penetrate through. As a result, it forms three layers of light ranging from bright to dim, which decreased gradually from the bright exterior to the dim interior space. When people walk through the large opening, the light around them will get darker and darker, giving an expression of mystery and solemnity of the hall. As the intensity of light decreases, our sense of calmness will rise, as dimness creates a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. It is believed that the design of the door can, therefore, get prayers mentally prepared to face god.
4. Tate Modern Museum, London
The narrow vertical windows stretching up to the ceiling echoes with the height of the building. Light castes into the ground floor forming long strips of light beams, creating a contrast of light and shade. Meanwhile, the vertical windows are aligned with the horizontal window which extends to the end of the room., which provides even lighting to the room.
5. Jewish Museum, Berlin
The strips of windows on the exterior walls of creates unique lighting to the interior. When Libeskind designed them, he drew lines on a plan of the city of Berlin to link the locations of real or imaginary representative figures of Judaism. Then he projected his drawing onto the walls to create these unsymmetrical strips of windows. From the interior, light penetrates from various directions, forming a dynamic and artistic picture on the wall.
6. Church of the Light, Osaka, Japan
The most iconic interior feature of the Church of Light is the cross. This illuminating cross is created by carving out a void from the thick concrete, introducing sunlight to the dark interior of the church. Light penetrating through the void into space is then shaped into a cross like the light from heaven, purifying the sins and bring hope to humans living in darkness. As the only natural light source of the monotonic grey room, the aesthetic of simplicity and minimalist creates a solemn atmosphere for people to worship God.
7. Wah Fu Estate, Hong Kong
Wah Fu is a famous public housing estate in my hometown. Perhaps you might not have heard about Wah Fu Estate before, yet Wah Fu Estate is a place where photographers around Hong Kong would pay a visit to. Standing at the bottom of the tower, you will be able to see shaded porticos and white decks that are exposed to natural light. The void of the porticos had made the decks stand out in the picture, similar to the “floating effect” brought by the porticos in Villa Savoye. In Wah Fu Estate, the white decks under the porticos appear to be floating by itself too.
8. The Cologne Cathedral, Köln, Germany
Nothing is better than a painted window in a cathedral! Not only were the windows painted in colors, but also the light shining through them, projecting colorful light on the dull stone inside the room. The craved columns and painted windows together increase visual pleasantness and make people feel relaxed. As the sun rises and sets, the natural light castes into the ground forming changeable shadows, giving a unique picture every minute every second.
9. Villa Savoye, Paris
In Villa Savoye, natural light is used to help people identify public and private spaces. On the second floor, we will first land in a lobby that is bathed in sunlight. Then walking across the living room we arrive at the bedrooms. Located along the north-east and south-east sides, these bedrooms are relatively darker than the public zone during the daytime.
10. National Parliament House, Bangladesh
The rooftop of the round assembly chamber in the National Parliament House is surrounded by windows that are shaped like a semi-circle. Natural light falls into the hall from different directions, providing sufficient lighting during the daytime. Besides, introducing light from the rooftop can change people’s perception of the vertical space, making the height of the building looks taller.