Look at several of the world’s most modern buildings and you’ll likely notice something. A good number of them seem to be airy on the inside. The buildings are showered in copious amounts of natural light, which greatly illuminates lobbies, offices, and even elevator shafts. Some buildings even require little artificial lighting except during night time.
If you noticed, then you see the effects of daylighting. The more frequent application of this recently popular architectural concept has seen glass manufacturers experience a business boom. You can also include companies such as Active Metal with their frameless glass balustrades. Are there merits to this design principle, however, beyond just allowing more natural light to shine through?
Daylighting denotes the use of either brilliant sunlight or muted overcast light to support the visual demand of a building’s occupants. A daylit space, according to purists, is one which uses natural light as a primary light source during daytime. Its purpose is to create a sense of visual and thermal comfort within a space, while also connecting the latter to the outside world. Or simple people will just define such as a room with a view.
Duncan McLeod and his firm use natural light as a focal point for their designs. His company’s architects design buildings with the intent of making natural light bounce off of different surfaces, primarily to invoke a sense of space. In turn, he claims that such a sensation facilitates positivity in the minds of the building’s occupants.
Doing It Properly
There is a risk of overdoing it with daylighting. Proper design involves the balancing of heat gain and loss, glare control, and daylight availability fluctuations. Designers would not want to create a space that’s swamped with bright light and is heated up in the process. Therefore, successful daylighting also requires the ingenious usage of shading installations to minimise glare. All of these efforts point to daylighting’s obvious advantage in the energy savings department.
Architects are adopting daylighting principles more often. They are also incorporating it in existing buildings, which is good news for the world. Maybe there will come a time when every building you enter is excellently illuminated by natural light.