When asking people what matters most in their lives, they will most likely mention fundamental, immaterial human values like friendship, health and happiness.
Even though people might not mention it at first thought, daylight certainly does a great deal to keep us healthy and happy, and enrich our everyday lives with sensuous pleasure. So daylight does, indeed, matter to all of us, although we only become acutely aware of this fact when it is lacking.
This issue of Daylight/Architecture discusses the vital importance of natural light from a variety of viewpoints.
In the opening essay, Juhani Pallasmaa underlines how daylight, in all its nuances, interacts with our senses, and how great architects have harnessed this interplay to create memorable spaces. In many of these buildings, light becomes almost a material of its own. The impact of daylight on our health and wellbeing is discussed by Deborah Burnett in her article. She gives an update on the fascinating research in recent years that have led to scientists discovering ever more pathways through which light exposure influences our sleep/wake cycles, hormone production, performance and alertness levels, and much more. Based on these findings, Peter Holzer calls for a reconsideration in his article of many established standards and practices in building design. Rather than targeting momentary comfort, Holzer argues that designers should take the long-term health effects of buildings into account. This would imply allowing much more daylight into buildings and employing natural ventilation over a greater period of time during the year than has been done so far.
The four projects featured in this edition are recent examples of the interplay of light, human health and wellbeing. In their images and comments in short handwritten notes, the photographers Adam Mørk and Daniel Blaufuks seek to capture the magic that natural light gives to a building’s atmosphere and to the bodies and minds of people living, working and learning in buildings. We hope that some of this magic is conveyed through the magazine.
Enjoy the read!
The VELUX Group