Light, the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that a human eye is able to grasp.
The art of designing and constructing a building is architecture, but the art of people experiencing and understanding architecture is only obtained by Light. Architecture lighting design is concerned with the design of the lighting system within the field of interior design, architecture and electrical engineering. Lighting plays a major role visually in understanding and living the space. Being the visual medium, it helps us see and appreciate the beauty in architecture around. For those who occupy the space, lighting brings experience through architecture, as it adds on emotional value towards it. The most important sense driving us through enjoying various aspects of life is Vision. The true purpose of architecture is achieved and perceived by lighting, irrespective of it being artificial or daylighting it draws attention towards colors, forms, textures, spaces helping architecture accomplish its true determination. Light achieves both personal needs of leisure, health as well as the practical communal demands.
“Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of volumes brought together in light.” Le Corbusier. Light is not only linked to the visual experience of space and form but also thermal characters. The attributes of light, heat, air movement and comfort are the key aspects in determining a building’s energy consumption, and if careful considerations are paid to design then the use of artificial light can be reduced and natural light can be lined in. People perspective of architecture will be influenced by light, Light characterizes boundaries and zones, Light enlarges and emphasizes rooms, Light creates attachments and delineates one area from another.
“The history of architecture is the history of the struggle for light.”
Light is a prerequisite for architecture as it is the aspect that renders the area visible. The process of design involves aspects covering the purpose of lighting for the kind of human activity, the extent of lighting needed, the colour of the light, the distribution of light both indoor and outdoor and the effect of the lighting system on the occupant’s experience and emotion. The intention of lighting design is the human reply, to see clearly and without displeasure. The aim of lighting design in architecture is to further the design process in architecture or the building’s experience of specific elements and other physical structures. “Light has not just intensity, but also a vibration, which is capable of roughening a smooth material, of giving a three-dimensional quality to a flat surface,” Renzo Piano
The three aspects of lighting in architecture is function, aesthetic, efficiency that helps in creating a balance between architecture and lighting. Aesthetics in lighting draws the impact of the occupants when they walk through space, this aspect is very crucial and essential for the retail region as the play of exterior lighting should draw the customer in and the play in interior lighting should astonish them as they are through space. The focus of architects revolving around aesthetics is on the emotional impact of the dweller. The following aspect of the post-aesthetic is the function of a space that cannot be overlooked, as lighting has to be looked in a certain way through function to server the most important purpose to help us view the space bringing the feel of reassurance. The illumination of space is proportional to function so habitants feel secure when navigating. The final aspect of architecture lighting orbit around efficiency as its important in today’s age of sustainable movements. Energy efficiency can be easily practiced in architecture through the lighting function just by cutting more of artificial in the morning attaining a natural, from fluorescent lighting to the installation of LED. Cultural aspects also need to be considered; for example, in Chinese history, a bright light was a mark of wealth.
Lighting has multiple functions revolving around architectural lighting design includes Illumination, Revelation of form, Contrast, Focus, Functionality. The simple ability to view what is occurring is the function of illumination, modifying the perception of shapes in the space delivers the revelation of form, direct lighting of a particular area or object making it brighter produces the contrast function of lighting, directing the people attention towards an area of the region or distracting them from one another is the functional aspect of focus and the functionality of lighting speaks about the level of illumination required for a particular application depending upon seeing the task involved and upon the surrounding conditions.
Architecture lighting design is comprised of lighting objectives of safety, enhanced appearance, performance, spot lighting a feature or statue and to enable sporting events in stage lighting. The concept of architecture lighting of comprehensive lighting design requires the consideration of the amount of functional light is provided in turn the amount of energy consumed and the aesthetic impact supplied by the lighting system.
Daylight plays a major role in lighting indoors and architecture being the source it is widely used in a way that the design captures the whole of daylight utilizing it inside the space.
Daylight through the space inside the building promotes the well-being of the occupants. The integration of daylight into the building implementing it in the design provides us with energy efficient design. Various stages involving in the design process incorporating in optimum civil engineering design for energy saving is that the building’s orientation should be taken into account, providing large windows and is sufficiently used and to make use of atriums in the space. Sometimes, more innovative quick fixes may be needed to allow more daylight flow into a building space. Light boards, solar tubes, mirrors are some of the quick fixes used in the design for natural lighting. Contribution to a substantial reduction of energy consumption where artificial lighting is concerned certain methodologies of Light-management systems and Daylight sensors are installed.
Coming into the process of design and light the latter is an integral part, it is one of the many imperative aspects of a site that has to be taken into consideration in the initial stages of the design process. Responsive Architecture is the key design mantra as both light and shadow are relatively important in any project, the importance of shadow; the balance of darkness and the light itself are basic design factors. Every design project is handled differently as light gives us a sense of time, capturing daylight well in a project is an admirable achievement. Daylight, as the sun angle changes through the day, the light changes, imparting a distinct feature in the space at different times; rendering an altered feel and appeal to it through the day, on the other hand artificial is driven by the mood that needs to be created as it becomes an important feature depending on the function of the built form. Light has to be integrated more closely in the built form and not segregate it as an independent component. A building is meant to lend itself to the lighting, and in turn, its lighting should blend with the built form. When the lighting from inside moves out to the outdoor planning basics as in safety, security, lifestyle, garden features (landscape) and energy are capable of delivering proper lighting design as the outdoor lighting has moved ahead beyond the front doors.
As through the design process, the accomplishment of architecture lighting design categorizes itself to different types of buildings and the usage of each. The main category of the building is the public structures that are comprised of hospitals, libraries, stadium are structured in delivering the right amount of light for works and other types of tasks. When it comes to designing of stadiums the right volume of light takes a main turn so the players can see clearly on the field, as in libraries hold intricate details of lighting for the person to read and hospitals require a higher level of lighting system for doctors to pursue their jobs successfully.
The second category of buildings are the office spaces and warehouses, here being energy efficiency as the key card lighting design inside these spaces do not consume large energy. Green building has been the current trend, energy efficiency and sustainable lighting system are been adapted through the design process in these types of official structures.
The last category of building group comprises the specialized structures of theatres, museums, casinos and these structures rely on the experiences provided by them and the atmosphere created. Architectural elements, features, and spaces are enhanced in these types of buildings. The main concern in the design process of the architectural lighting has its initial stage on highlighting the necessary. Architectural elements are enhanced and emotions are evoked by certain design planning and process thus, it’s important to understand how to light spatial borders. One of the main elements used by architects for the light entering the building is through the glass and also the use of reflective surfaces transforms a space, its look, and the feel. Transforming architecture is attained by the tool of natural lighting.
Architectural lighting design is just as crucial as architecture itself. Using various materials, textures, colors with diverse types of lighting can affect the way people experience space and how they feel. Whether the lighting is natural or artificial, direct or indirect, it allows us to acknowledge architecture and recognize special features and aspects we might not have viewed without lighting. As we experience space and the feel consumed, it’s always good to observe the lighting and how it interacts with the architectural features and complimenting the architecture.