Assignment 5: Luminous Environement

For the Chapel within the airport, or meditation space I wanted to create an atmosphere that had dramatic light and high contrast. I imagine as the position of the sun changes, the light entering through the open corner of the roof and south wall, will vary in intensity throughout the day. In early morning I imagine the light to be low and peer over the South wall and create a sharp band of light that enters through the south wall. When the sun is higher throughout the day, the opening above will create sharp bands of light in the middle of the floors, contrasted against the darker corners that will receive little to no light. I imagined the window to be transparent glass that would allow for not only light to enter but also a connection to the exterior environment. Furthermore, this change of light will also vary throughout the seasons; in the winter when the sun is low sharp bands of light will cut across the South opening onto the North wall, and in the summer seasons the light will cut through the ceiling and shine on the floors.



For the activity space, I wanted to create an atmosphere that was diffused with an even light and less dramatic. For this space I imagined that the south and roof facades would be curved and bend light evenly throughout the room. I imagined the curvilinear form would help capture the maximize amount of light throughout the seasons and the days. The material would also be polycarbonate, which is translucent and diffuses light more evenly throughout a space. When translucent material is used along a facade, it creates a lower contrast between shadow and light. I imagined that a more evenly disperse of light will create an atmosphere that can be used by a group of people to chat, whereas the more dramatic meditation space will be a place where individuals may contemplate.



Assignment 5: Draft

For this assignment I was interested in how placing windows could change how light was entering and illuminate a space (drawing 1). I was particularly interested creating a restful environment for meditation and have a dramatic contrast of light and darkness within a space. The two pictures were also looking at how the windows in the east addition were carefully placed to create different atmospheres of light. In Photo 1 I specifically was drawn to the the use of material behind a window that then reflected light across it and radiated into the room. In the second photo, I was more interested in how the floor material could also be used to bend and reflect light onto an opaque surface. 



Drawing 1


Photo 1


Photo 2


A World Without Light-blog post 7

It’s hard to imagine a world without light in our society today; it’s used for so many different things like lighting rooms and walkways at night. We use it to see but it also plays an essential role in the way we interact with the world. From the beginning of time natural light from the sun dictated the times in which human were awake and roamed the earth. This disappearance of the light told humans when they were to rest. Human biological patterns are tied to the natural patters of the sun. That being said the change in patterns on sunlight have a strong effect on humans and the ways in which they perceive space.

According to Nanet Mathiasen and Nina Voltelen in “Light and Shadow”, light not only provides vitamin D for humans but also affects people’s moods. Since our daily patterns of rest and movement are tied to the patterns of the sun, in northern climates that receive even less sun in the winter have a greater amount of people who experience winter depression due to lack of exposure to light and whereas in more warmer climates near the equator that have a lot of sunlight year round don’t experience these same depressions (115). Our built environment may also include another possibility to capture light and create different atmospheres that force people to respond differently.

In so many buildings today the use of artificial light is used to light rooms even when there is plenty of natural light available during the day. Not only  are artificial lights an excessive use of energy, they do not have the same quality or affect natural light has over spaces. Mathiasen and Voltelen suggest that there are three different types of daylights architects should consider when planning, daylight, skylight, and reflected light (119). I think these different types of light sources are important when designing because they show a deeper understanding that goes beyond just simply lighting a building directly, but each light creates a different type of atmosphere created by the lights. Architects can use the variety of light source to enhance a simple room and create better spaces for specific types of activities to take place such as a room for activity verses a room for rest. Typically humans don’t gather in completely shaded rooms during the day and prefer rooms that have a balanced quality of light.

The Laban Centre in London utilizes the different effects of light to create open spaces that inspire dancers to perform and students to create art. The Laban Centre utilizes translucent and transparent materials, which allow filtered light to enter the space and create an environment that not only feels weightless but also conveys a huge sense of openness (Figure 1). This is important considering the activities of dance and performance that take place in the theatre, the building itself acts as an open light well that emphasizes its performers. The space of theatre is both inspiring and also challenges the conventional use of artificial lighting.

labanFigure 1

During the day there is no need for excessive artificial light and the filtered light that enters through the translucent walls highlight the materials differently throughout the space. The floors, although concrete, become reflective pools and the walls look as if they are expanding down through the floors which adds to the open feel. The careful use of materials to convey openness also expands to the exterior of the theatre (FIgure 2).

labanexteriorFigure 2

The use of translucent glass and plastics on the facade almost make the theater appear as if it were floating off of the ground. The lightweight materials are also interrupted by reflective windows that reflect images of the natural landscape, which appear to cut right through the building to the opposite side. The careful design and consideration of light in the theater have created a space that is more inspiring than a regular building that uses artificial light. I imagine  the space feels more relaxing and open to be in.




Assignment 4: The Wedge Bus Stop

When asked to design a bus stop, I had all sorts of ideas and questions. The focus of my design utilized the weather charts and diagrams as analysis for how the bus stop should be orientated and what important factors played a role in determining coverage such as the sun. Not only did I pay attention to the weather studies, but I also was interested in how I could create a bus stop that was both safe and practical for students as well as visitors to use.

I used the psychrometric chart to explore passive and active design strategies that could be used in both winter and summer in Charlottesville to create a comfortable microclimate within the bus stop. These charts showed that sun shading of windows, natural ventilation, and fan forced ventilation were the most effective in obtaining a larger comfort zone (see Figure 1). In the winter months, adding heating was by far the most effective design strategy in creating a comfort zone(see Figure 2). These issues of providing heat in the winter but also keeping the bus stop cool in summer months suggested a design approach that could be adjusted throughout the seasons.

summerpyschrocvile winterpyschrocville

Next, I overlaid the wind charts onto the site and began to draw predicted wind patterns on top of them. In Figure 3, the diagrams show the wind primarily comes from the Northwest and Southwest in the winter months. In drawing the paths I paid attention to buildings that would likely block the site from direct winds but would also force winds to rapidly flow along the east corner of the parking garage stair tower.


Figure 3

For the warmer months, Figure 4 shows that North and South winds were typically wet and made sure to provide protection on these two faces of the facade. However, these winds were not particularly strong and stronger winds approached from the West side of the site.


Figure 4

From these two charts I began to gain a sense of what directions winds would be coming from and the areas that needed protection from precipitation (see Figure 5).


Figure 5

Another important factor in deciding a design approach was the sun. In Figure 6, the path of the sun in elevation is mapped out and buildings that would potentially block the sunlight from the path are shown. Primarily in the warmer months, the sun is much more intense and higher in the sky creating direct sunlight to shine directly onto the site.


Figure 6

Figure 7 shows the sun pattern in plan and also highlights buildings that could block sunlight in the winter on the southeast and southwest sides of the site. During the winter months when the sun is lower, it will be difficult to use the just the sunlight to heat the bus stop through solar gain and other smart alternatives, such as using the wind to power an energy source or that of the train and vehicles to generate heat for the bus station.Image

Figure 7

From these analysis of weather I began to design my bus stop as triangular object that would stand out to students and bus drivers, but also provide safe sense of enclosure for students and the public to gather. Another important factor was how the bus stop operated at night and also created a safe feeling for occupants. To address these issues, I suggested that there be walkways that are connected to the bus stop and when stepped on use the energy to power the lights of the bus stop. If students are rushing to the bus at night to catch the bus they can press a button that will make the bus stop light up and signal an approaching bus to stop at the stop (see Figure 9).Image

Figure 8


Figure 9


Figure 10

Assignment 4 Draft




By looking at wind charts and weather patterns, I’m designing a bus stop that can protect against cold winds in the winter but also utilize the winds in the summer time. Exploring the sun patterns will also help create a design that can adopt to a variety of weather and seasonal patterns. For the specific site, I found that it was important to make the bus stop noticeable for students to locate as well as for the bus to see occupants waiting at the site. By using both the resources on the site and taking note of the practical issues that needed to occur on the site I began to sketch some designs for my project.