Professor Sherman’s Lecture in the Dark was really interesting in that not only did he made me realize that having the most light possible in space is not that important, if it does not fit with the program, and that maybe sometimes no light at all is O.k as well but also that the light that we need can be relative to what the eye can perceive. For instance, at first when he turned off all of the lights in the lecture hall it was hard to even see the person sitting in front of me. The whole room was close to being pitch black, and yet very slowly my eyes began to adjust to the very little amount of light that was in the room. Soon figures began to appear and if i focused on a subject for a little bit of time i could distinguish some detail. Even though, this amount of light was not the correct amount of light for the purposes of the room, I think that with just a little bit more light in the room my eyes would have been able to adjust and I would have been able to take notes and what not.
In the reading: Daylight Design of Building, Baker and steemers go through a series of time periods in order to explain the evolution of light and what type of role this element took place in architecture. But before going to specific era there were quotes, one of which was particularly interesting to me.
“… Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnficent play of volumes brought together in light…”
First, Baker and Steemer discuss light in terms of vernacular architecture. How this element can be used for a very simplistic need of using natural light (the sun): In order to produce light and shadow to reach comfort within a building. ” The sun’s energy needs to be selectively controlled through design to ensure shade in the summer and solar warmth in the winter”.
Soon enough light became more important than just a need for controlling the climate and being comfortable. Throughout history light has always had in one way o another aesthetics purposes. As Baker and Steemer mention, the egyptions used light to illuminate the interior of their temples by “introducing the light into deep plans via clerestory elements consisting of narrow slots carved into stone slabs”. These slabs were not made to provide light in order make the interior spaces warmer. “The intensity and location of light” had other puposes which were to “reinforce the axis of the main processional rout”
The Romans used the light not to make some sort of dramatic statement, as did the Egyptians or Greeks within their architecture. The Romans were most interested in ” the opening up of the architecture, with glazed arched windows facing the early afternoon sun ”
Gothic architecture used light to portray symbolism and imagery of light and dark within its architecture. Although similar to Gothic architecture in terms of using light for symbolism, Baroque architecture takes a more 3 dimensional experience by using light in a more dynamic way within a space.
Personally, i am recently struggling how to control light within my current studio project. Having my sight being next located next to the Highline in New York city, where adjacent building are extremely high i find it difficult to funnel a large amount of light to the main bottom floor, which is mostly an open courtyard. I decided to make most of the central spaces fairly open in order to get the most sunlight, yet it is still not enough to make the space warmer in the winter. I also need that space to be bright in order to be a welcoming place where people can gather. I think, moving forward with this idea i am going to play with the materiality of the exterior of the building to be able to control light all the way to the bottom.
Section of my building thus far: