Experience Choreographed Through Light: Exploring the Emotive Nature of Daylighting
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Winston Churchill once said, “First we shape our buildings, thereafter, they shape us”. This speaks both to how we design a building, and to the effect that design has on us. The challenge that is presented to us as architects is to develop a design concept that combines both the technical and aesthetic requirements of an environment. This may sound simple enough, however designing spaces that are visually intriguing, comfortable, and psychologically satisfying is indeed a challenge. This paper discusses light as the most powerful material and design tool we have as architects, and one that is not always thought of first as a solution to many, if not all aspects of this task. By manipulating light in a way that harnesses moments of tranquility or creates an emotive experience, we transform a space. The intensity, focus, color, and even source of the light, has the ability to change the environment around us. This paper highlights case studies and research of successful spaces and experiences from around the world, challenging some common design practices of today. The relationship of light quality to the quality of our experience of place and space must be considered in the environments we create. How light is used to reveal, reflect, and enhance our environment is in direct relationship to place, culture, and individual needs. If we used natural light as the primary strategy in the design process, it would result in spaces to which we can relate to, experience, and emotionally connect with as participants of an environment, instead of merely occupants.