Light and Shadow
LIGHT and SHADOW in ARCHITECTURE
Light and shadow influence greatly the way we experience architecture. When employed skilfully, they create spatial atmosphere and evoke emotion; convey symbolic meaning; or, in the case of the ever changing daylight, connect us to the surrounding nature by marking the passage of time.
This talk starts with a short history of architecture presented in terms of how natural light enters buildings and shapes their spaces - from the darkness of primeval shelters; to medieval cathedrals' ornamented divine light; to the sublime splendour of Baroque buildings; and the fluid luminescence of modernist structures. We look at various ways in which architectural enclosure and its openings - such as tectonic cutouts and light channels; glass veils; and porous membranes - modulate light. Using examples of contemporary architectural projects, including those from Switzerland, we discuss architecture's tendency toward over-illumination, and point out the importance of shadows. Finally, we look at some recently developed building materials that allow for novel ways of light treatment.
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