Everyday we have an hour of magic. As the sky
transitions from day to night and the purple hue of the
belt of Venus glides up the horizon, the land is slowly
submerged in the shadow blanket of night, eventually
revealing the glimmer of the billions of stars whose
beauty is only revealed with sufficient shadow.
All over the world, these views inspire awe and wonder.
Each location, every unique moment fuels the senses.
It’s the light that leads and entices us along the path,
to go deeper into the forest, to pause at the top of a
vista, to wait to see the unique wonder that will come
along with patience. We as humans go to find respite in
nature, and as designers to seek inspiration.
There is a disconnect, however, between these natural
environments that draw us in to experience and
immerse ourselves in their quality, and the many codes
and standards with which we continue to restrain
the built environment.
This exploration is rather simple – it is a reexamination
of luminous design goals for the built environment
through a deeper understanding of the quality of light
in the places where we make pilgrimage for mental and
physical wellness. The intention of the exercise is not
to replicate the natural environment, but to develop
design criteria that are informed by its characteristics
– and not guided by the goal of maximising the
productivity of an individual staring into a computer
screen for hours at a time.
The photographic series and luminance maps are
all scenes with restful and restorative qualities. The
maps illustrate the balance and proportion of light
in environments where we have evolved to thrive.
Subjective and qualitative review of the scene is key to
the process. It’s both a visual and a scientific process.
The goal is to deepen one’s understanding of light
quality in order to enhance and better inform the
design approach for constructed spaces.
The use of the luminance map as an analytical tool for
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