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Light in Interior Architecture: Annotated Bibliography

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Architecture
Wordcount: 1334 words Published: 1st May 2018

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Architecture and space are always defined by light. “Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of masses brought together in the light and our eyes are made to see forms in light”, said Le Corbusier. (Curtis, 1987) light become more important part of the interior architecture. Le Corbusier thinks the characteristic features of architectural spaces only come to life with light and there are no architecture spaces without light. Hence light is the way it is arranged gives an appreciation of the space and generates specific emotive and aesthetic responses. The architect, through the different forms of light, realizes an order that is a pure creation of people’s mind and the light affects our senses intensely. The light deep resonances to influence architecture and control space. It is undeniable that sometimes in a building environment, shape, color or light can be used as a “theme element”, that is, the creator wants to highlight a certain aspect of the information. And appreciation is indeed in this area has been clear and strong feelings. But despite this, the emphasis on one aspect does not mean that this factor can accomplish the creation of the whole atmosphere and that it must be used synthetically.

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Since we look at the architecture interior space changed, the modern architecture also starts to focus on the light. They use the artificial lighting as the main method to gives a new definition to space. Richard Kelly was one of the pioneers of this technique’s Glass House was the significant artificial lighting works by Philip Johnson and Richard Kelly. At some transparent architecture, the biggest challenge is the clear glass which turns into a mirror at night and to reflecting the interior lighting. By illuminating the surrounding trees and minimizing the interior lighting has played a flow from the daytime into the night. In “The Structure of light” (Meden, 2011) Articles, it reflected his theory of lighting. That was a great influenced by the light effects found in nature. Nowadays his terminology is used to describe some conceptual background for numerous lighting solutions. In particular, his concept of distinct types of lighting: “Focal glow and ambient luminescence”. “Focal glow” is for Kelly a way to point out important elements and the “Ambient luminescence” is the background lighting that serves to perceive the environment in general. Use Artificial lighting to creating architecture space become central to our modern architecture and Kelly’s perspective is a valuable source of inspiration to use lighting to creating images of such iconic power.

According to the traditional Japanese interpretation, architecture is always connected with nature. “Further connections with nature are effected by the subtle transformations caused in part by delicate contrasts of light and shade.” (Pare, 1996) So, Thus, you can clearly see the natural light performance in Ando’s architecture. In Japan, the Church of the Light was one of Tadao Ando’s signature Japanese architectural style work. The Church of the Light clearly pointed out that Ando’s personal architecture characteristic between nature and architecture, through the way in which light can define spaces is also can through the light to create new space perceptions equally. ‘The Church of the Light ‘was completed in 1999. The church of light focus on the cross. Ando’s to put the cross on the east facade allows for light to pour into space throughout the early morning and into the day. It has a dematerializing effect on the interior concrete walls transforming the dark volume and bring it from darkness to light. Use the simple medium of creating a pure, unadorned space. The intersection of light and solid raises the temporal and spiritual cognition of audience. As a modern architecture, those minimalist structures use lots of factors of light into interior space. light is an important controlling factor in Ando’s architecture.

Light is the original source and the wellspring of all the laws of nature, whether known to human science or not. In Kahn’s words, “matter is extinguished light. When light ceases to be light it becomes matter. Silence tends to express something, and light creates it, gives It form”. (Giurgola, 1979, p. 16) Another different contrast or form of light is the shadow to express the meaning of light. Louis I. Kahn in this regard also made great achievements and he believed that the dark shadow is a natural part of the light, Kahn never attempted a space for a formal effect with no light. For him, a rarely of light to show the level of darkness: “A plan of a building should be read like a harmony of spaces in light. Even a space intended to be dark should have just enough light from some mysterious opening to tell us how dark it is. Each space must be defined by its structure and the character of its natural light.” (Kahn, 1993, p. 36) Thus, the light as a source is often hidden behind louvers or secondary walls, thus concentrating attention on the effect of the light and not on its origin. Like the ‘MIKVEH ISRAEL SYNAGOGUE’, Louis I. Kahn works on the ceiling, the ceiling as a smooth and white surface, when the wall opening, it will cast starkly pronounced patterns of shadow and light o to this surface. It is the particular technique in his architectural forms.

“Material lives by light, “Wrote Louis I. Kahn. “You are spent light, the mountains are spent light, the trees are spent light, the atmosphere is spent light. All material is spent light.” (Giurgola, 1979, p. 36)

As for the performance of the texture of the material, but also with the help of the role of light. Such as the original band structure arranged together in the sun’s exposure, in addition to the structure itself, the three-dimensional sense of the obvious, but also for the wall or the ground shed a shadow, this change in the formation of a visual contrast, also stressed the rhythm of the building and the depth of space, often gives a clear, simple impression. le Corbusier use the site of Ronchamp to make the establish relationship between the light and materials. Corbusier wanted the space to be meditative and reflective in purpose.  The stark white walls add to this purist mentality that when the light enters the chapel there becomes this washed out, ethereal atmosphere.  The effect of the light evokes expressive and emotional qualities that create heightened sensations in tune with the religious activities. The walls of Ronchamp give the building its sculptural character and each wall becomes illuminated by these differing window frames, which in conjunction with the stark whitewashed walls gives the walls luminous qualities punctuated by a more intense direct light. Rather the light is what defines and gives meaning to the chapel experientially.


Curtis, W., 1987. Le Corbusier: nature and tradition. London: Arts Council of Great Britain.

Meden, R., 2011. The Structure of light: Richard Kelly and the illumination of modern architecture. Richard Kelly and the illumination of modern architecture, 48(12), p. 2299.

Pare, T. a. 1.-R., 1996. ando,tadao,1941-;Architecture–Japan–History–20th century. London: Phaidon.

Baek, J., 2009. Shintai and the Empty Cross: Tadao Ando’s Church of the Light. Architectural Theory Review, 01 04, pp. 55-70.

Giurgola, R., 1979. Louis I. Kahn. 5th Spanish/English ed. ed. Barcelona: Editorial Gustavo Gili .

Kahn, U. B. 1.-. L. I., 1993. Louis I. Kahn : Licht und Raum = light and space. Basel ; Boston: Birkhäuser Verlag.


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