India encompasses a diverse range of climatic zones, with the majority being cooling-dominated. As it is located in the tropical belt, it benefits from 300 days of peak solar radiation, which equates to 2300-3,000 hours of sunshine, or over 5,000 trillion kWh. Indian structures were traditionally and historically created with courtyards to allow daylight into the core of the buildings and adequately sized overhangs to shade the interior from the summer sun. Buildings were designed to have artificial ventilation and lighting systems after the invention of air-conditioning systems and electric illumination.

Daylighting Systems

Traditional, conventional, and modern daylight systems are the three primary categories of daylight systems in India. Specific guidebooks, manuals, codes, and standards, such as ECBC-R, NBC, and SP41, provide guidelines for designing and incorporating daylighting strategies in an Indian residential building. Although there is no precise list of daylight systems in these guides, they include elements such as building orientation, fenestration size, position, height, and glazing treatments, as well as the form and proportions of shading devices and the technical characteristics associated with them. It is also vital to recognize that India, being a culturally diverse country, has a variety of construction techniques and practises, as well as architectural differences in buildings when it comes to local, traditional, and vernacular styles. For example, patterned giant screen shading systems in hot areas are commonly used on Indian structural facades to give shade from intense sunlight and govern social interaction. As a result, different daylighting techniques in other climatic regions of the country might be approached.

Consequently, it can be inferred that an integrated daylight system in India comprises fenestration, glass type, shading devices, wall finishes, interior geometry, surface reflectance, and design standards.

Indian Structures and Daylighting

The dynamic nature of daylight throughout the day and year raises multiple aspects when developing buildings that strive to use this plentiful natural resource to meet the illuminance requirements of architectural spaces. This part of the daylighting primer addresses what constitutes good daylighting design and outlines a general design methodology that considers the many factors involved in good daylighting design.

Daylighting as a powerful tool towards sustainable Indian structures. - Sheet1
Sunlit Courtyard_©Saratha Vilas

The two primary reasons for using daylight in Indian structures to meet architectural space’s illumination requirements are the psychological and energy savings benefits. It has been observed that adequate daylighting improves the overall attitude, satisfaction, and well-being of building inhabitants. Daylight exposure has also been demonstrated to benefit general health and circadian rhythm. These psychological benefits readily outweigh any additional design effort or cost associated with incorporating regulated daylight into structures.

Daylighting can result in significant energy savings by reducing electric lighting loads and accompanying cooling loads when used with appropriate electric lighting controls. Furthermore, with efficient solar power, solar gains during cooling load periods can be minimized, while solar increases during heating load periods can be utilized, lowering the energy requirements for cooling and heating a space.

Daylight designs are most successful when skillfully integrated into a building’s overall architecture. Daylighting and solar control strategies that are addressed as an afterthought and added to an already-designed building usually fail to integrate effectively with the building design and space layout. Moreover, these solutions are more expensive and, in general, more troublesome. As a result, while planning the various spaces, it is best to handle daylighting and sun control issues early in the process.

Solar Control

It is crucial to efficiently control both the electric lighting and the solar heat gain of the daylit sections for a daylighting design in Indian structures to increase the energy efficiency of a building. Inadequate regulation can lead to glare and a decrease in energy efficiency.

For east and west facades or cloudier regions, when incident direct sunlight is changeable and occurs less than two-thirds of the time, dynamic (movable) solar control is often the best solution. These solutions optimize the daylight resource when direct sunlight is present and when the direct daylight contribution is from a reasonably glare-free sky dome under cloudy skies. Static solar management is frequently the most effective method in sunny climes and southern facades (within 20° of due south) that receive significant incident direct sunlight. Unlike an automated or dynamic way, static systems often have lower maintenance requirements and expenses.

Taking inspiration

One of the world’s most sought-after, prominent, and exclusive business schools was founded because Kahn reworked the conventional foundations of India’s educational system and the efforts of a group of aspirational industrialists. The massive facade omissions are abstracted designs from Indian culture that were strategically placed to act as light wells and a natural cooling system, preserving the inside from India’s harsh desert heat. As a homage to Indian vernacular architecture, he used local materials (brick and concrete) and massive geometrical façade extractions. Only the Indian Institute of Management could benefit from Kahn’s blending of modern architecture and Indian heritage.

IIM Ahmedabad_©Dave Morris

In times like now, there isn’t just an urgent need to use resources that are available purposefully but also to upgrade our skills to create the beyond and appreciate the past. Taking inspiration from the civilizations that turned us into beings that hold on to culture so that humanity can produce technologically advanced structures while rooted to origin.


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Kroll, A. (2010) Ad classics: Indian Institute of Management / Louis Kahn, ArchDaily. ArchDaily. Available at: (Accessed: November 13, 2022).

M.K. Elzeyadi, I. and Batool, A. (2017) “Veiled facades: Impacts of patterned-mass shades on building energy savings, daylighting autonomy, and glare management in three different climate zones,” Building Simulation Conference Proceedings [Preprint]. Available at:

R, S. (2018) “Window sizing for daylighting for non-airconditioned buildings in Andhra Pradesh, India,” Journal of Architectural Engineering Technology, 07(01). Available at:

Why daylighting? (no date) LightLouver. Available at:,well%20being%20of%20building%20occupants. (Accessed: November 13, 2022). 


An architecture student, always looking for something new by being a part of everything creative to express herself in every form. Being heard and able to deliver a great word has always been her bent. An old soul who believes that a conversation about changing for the better can accomplish a lot.