The Architecture of Light: Recent Approaches to Designing with Natural Light, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Architecture of Light

Recent Approaches to Designing with Natural Light, 1st Edition

By Mary Ann Steane


246 pages

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pub: 2011-04-18
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Reviewing the use of natural light by architects in the era of electricity, this book aims to show that natural light not only remains a potential source of order in architecture, but that natural lighting strategies impose a usefully creative discipline on design.

Considering an approach to environmental context that sees light as a critical aspect of place, this book explores current attitudes to natural light by offering a series of in-depth studies of recent projects and the particular lighting issues they have addressed. It gives a more nuanced appraisal of these lighting strategies by setting them within their broader topographic, climatic and cultural contexts.


"With her book The Architecture of Light, Mary Ann Steane reminds us of an often undervalued resource of sustainable architecture: daylight. The book depicts natural light above all as a design tool in the hands of architects and less as a scalable quantity."Detail Magazine

Table of Contents

Introduction: Daylighting in the Era of Electricity 1. Speaking of Light, Speaking with Light: Le Corbusier’s ‘carnets de recherche patiente’, ‘Une Petite Maison’, and ‘La Chapelle de Ronchamp’ 2. Desert Tent: Light and Geometry at the Benedictine Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Las Condes, Santiago de Chile 3. Deciding the Colouring of Things: Carlo Scarpa's 1963 Fondazione Querini-Stampalia, Venice 4. Reading Light at Seinajoki, Finland, and Viana do Castelo, Portugal: Alvar Aalto and Alvaro Siza’s Conspicuous Conservation of Daylight 5. Enlightening Conversation: The Music Room and the Open City, Ritoque, Chile 6. Seeing the Light: The Poole House, Noosa, Queensland 7. O’ Donnell and Tuomey’s Lessons in the History and Geography of Light: The Ranelagh Multi-denominational School, Dublin 8. Inverse Light? The Vulnerable Openings of Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum, Berlin 9. New Light for Old Across London: Recent Interventions at the Carmelite Priory, Kensington by Niall McLoughlin, and 1A John Campbell Road, Hackney by Lisa Shell 10. The Electricity of Daylight? Herzog and De Meuron’s Excavation of Dusk at London’s Bankside Power Station

About the Author

Mary Ann Steane is an architect and a lecturer at the University of Cambridge. Her research on the use of natural light marries an understanding of lighting design principles with a broader cultural perspective. She examines how architects handle the relationship between light, material and the occupation of space, looking closely at the way in which these factors affect perception of and attunement to the visual environment.

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