Monday, February 10, 2014

Planning Designs for Daylight

By Nicholas Mosher

              Daylighting has been a crucial part of design and it will continue to be a long time from now.  Among other things, it can reduce costs for electricity and heating as well as improve health.  Buildings and houses should capitalize on gathering the most amount of daylight inside.  It is a common thing for buildings to allow in direct sunlight as well because of the cold weather that comes in either parts of the year or for majority of the time.  In a location such as Phoenix, Arizona, the arid climate would not call for direct sunlight to heat the interior space of a building all of the time.  So letting in daylight but not direct sunlight can become a problem when designing around the sun. 

                Capitalizing on letting in daylight can be achieved through very large decisions and smaller ones as well.  On the large scale, strategies should be considered around site selection.  In most cases the architect will not have a say on where the plot of land is located but in those few cases, it is important to analyze the other buildings around it. An example would be where the shadows are being casted throughout the day and year.  After that the orientation of the building is important to study.  By facing the walls and windows the right way, they can let in more light and cast better views as well.  The shaping of the building will help with facing windows the right way and shadows is just as important especially in Phoenix1.  In the hot sun a shaded place provides the comfort and that is the ideal place where people want to be. 

                On the smaller aspect of designs, obtaining interior daylight can be achieved through a collection of apertures, glazing, shading devices, interior partitions, surface finishes, electric lighting, HVAC systems, and controls1.  Each one of these can play an important role on letting in and capitalizing on the daylight to make the interiors a more comfortable, warmer and brightened space for people to be in.  Together these can add up to creating the space even more sustainable than just one or two of them alone.  Getting the most of them to work together and fit inside the same building can be challenging.  It is also challenging to still design a building to look aesthetically pleasing with everything mentioned above being a part of it.  That is why the architects, engineers, lighting designers, interior designers and even the curtain wall consultants have to be able to work with and around each other to ultimately provide the client with a beautiful and functional building that can successfully work with and adapt to the sun.  The overall process of finalizing a complex building is a giant circle involving designing, analyzing, integrating, and evaluating1. 



1.       Matthew Tanteri. (March 8, 2007). Planning for Daylight. Architecture Lighting Online.

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