concept, which continues down to the smallest detail.
The end product is a structure where every element
has been thoroughly scrutinised. Given this exacting
philosophy, which also applies to how his buildings
harness daylight, can he cite other buildings or
architects that exploit light well?
Alvar Aalto, a master of light, is an obvious candidate,
says Grimshaw. ‘Aalto was very good at mixing daylight
and artificial light, and he employed tall slots of glass,
which allowed the daylight to wash down a building’s
wall so there was minimal direct daylight coming
through.’ Like Aalto, he says, David Chipperfield also
has a talent for ‘washing a wall with daylight and
mixing it with artificial light, which is very clever and is
demonstrated well in his Hepworth Wakefield gallery’.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Johnson Wax building in
Wisconsin has also been an influence. ‘The way those
mushroom columns are uplit with a very low, soft,
artificial light is beautiful, and where the tops of the
columns fan out and are set in glass is a wonderful
example of letting in daylight.’
But could architects learn how to balance both daylight
and artificial light in buildings more effectively? ‘Yes,
there should be courses in light incorporated into
architecture degrees,’ says Grimshaw. ‘Young architects
may then have a keener interest in lighting if they
were taught it well and given lectures by good lighting
designers. The theory of lighting should also be
covered as it’s very technical.’
Grimshaw believes that lighting designers are integral
to the design and build process – providing they are
good. ‘It’s important that you have an empathy with
them and you work in partnership with them,’ he says.
‘Rather than design a building and ask them to light ▼
Sketches for the translucent
geodesic ETFE domes of the
Eden Project, in Cornwall, UK.
A radical rethink of the