Daylight _architecture_magazine_-_2007_autumn


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Daylight _architecture_magazine_-_2007_autumn

  2. 2. DISCOURSE FORM AND IMPRESSION At the VELUX Daylight Symposium in Bilbao in the spring of 2007, the insightBY into how America treats its children gave particular cause for reflection. In Cal- ifornia, pupils are forced into derelict, shabby, unattractive rooms with no day- light. You don’t need to be a professor of psychology to realise that depressingKIM environments of this kind, with a complete absence of experience, lead to prob- lems with unhappy and maladjusted children. The atmosphere is evidence of aDIRCKINCK- lack of welfare provision that appears to be contagious. It is not surprising that the performance and happiness of the children improves by up to 25% when daylight is let into the rooms (as architect and researcher Lisa Heschong dis-HOLMFELD covered) – and, importantly, through windows that the children are able to see out of. Lisa Heschong’s research has produced clear evidence that daylight and a view are imperative for physical and mental health. But what about all the other factors that contribute to a complete spatial experience? How does our environment affect us? The town, the building, the room, the landscape – even the last is designed by humans. When it comes down to it, our entire environment is the work of humans. But is it also humane? Space plus form equals impressions. But how are they created? We know very little about this, and science can help us little in understanding more about it. There are too many factors that work together here. We need to develop different methods to ensure that architects and builders build for people instead of jump- ing on the next mega-trend in the international flying circus of architecture. There is not enough research that is able to qualitatively analyse building environments and consequently provide support for planners and constructors. There are various approaches to this, but there is no real research carried out about the mental and emotional effects of architecture. At least we do know something about human behaviour in different types of urban space and under different climatic and cultural conditions. Among others, architect Jan Gehl and a network of urban researchers addressed this subject, and for a genera- tion, it has been one of the basic principles for avoiding social planning errors. Even if, in building projects, many other objectives often elbow this informa- tion out, there are also already certain guidelines for humane urban develop- ment based on a behaviouristic approach. But we still know little about what exactly goes on inside people. In many ways, architecture has become removed from its origins, in other words, the intention of creating a stimulating framework for human life. Mov- ing in time with technological development (and assisted by helpful comput- ers) we are faced increasingly with newer, more fantastic and seductive designs, that sprinkle a builder’s glittering magic dust over projects. But what is it really like living and being in these phantasms that express more what we can do thatKim Dirckinck-Holmfeld is an architect and one of the what we actually want?most renowned architecture critics in Denmark. He was The architect’s responsibility is still to create a humane, healthy, sustain-editor of the Danish specialist magazines Arkitekten able and life-affirming space for the lives that flow through the channels ofand Arkitektur DK for many years, and is the author of architecture.numerous books about architecture. 1
  3. 3. VELUX EDITORIAL get skin cancer due to too much sun. From ancient for schoolchildren, offering a great deal of daylight REFLECTIONS 34 DAYLIGHTING 40 VELUX DIALOGUE 56 times it has been known that sunlight has a disin- and fresh air, but also an opportunity to provide FRAMING DAYLIGHT fectant effect on surfaces and clothes, and the heal- the pupils with hands-on experience and knowl- ZONNESTRAAL HOME AWAY MORE LIGHT ing effect of sunlight, fresh air and hygiene has been edge about sustainable building and sustainable SANATORIUM FROM HOME known in sanatoria for almost 100 years. choices of lifestyle. This is a vital aspect for White The history of sunlight and health is told by Ri- Design, a company committed to designing build- chard Hobday, who, in his article, discusses the con- ings for human beings rather than, as they put it, The Zonnestraal sanatorium in Hilversum is the Approximately 80 disabled children, many of them Architects and light planners have rediscovered tributions of the ancient Egyptian priest and master places for machines to live in. perfect embodiment of the ideals associated with with multiple disabilities, attend the special school their appreciation of daylight. But the complex- builder Imhotep, the British nurse Florence Night- The importance of daylight to architecture and architectural modernism in respect of light, hy- in Schwechat near Vienna. The building created by ity of the matter still makes many of them wary ingale, the Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner people’s quality of life is a keystone in the found- giene and health. The building designed by Jan architects fasch&fuchs establishes a balance be- of dealing with the issue intensively and in depth. “Light is a drug that stimulates the production of se- Niels Finsen and Le Corbusier, who all knew about ing of our company. “Bringing light to life” is our Duiker, Bernard Bijvoet and Gerko Wiebenga was tween the imperatives of protecting the children During the second VELUX Daylight Symposium in rotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acids the relationship between sunlight and health. philosophy in everything we do linking natural re- the expression of a medical and architectural at- and allowing them to make contact – not only with Bilbao, projects were presented as examples and in the human body, enhancing impulse control, mo- In our days, not only sanatoria, hospitals and sources with human needs. Therefore we find it es- titude which still took the sun seriously as a last- other pupils but with nature outside the building. new solutions aimed at facilitating daylight plan- tivation, muscle coordination, calmness and focus,” thermal baths take care of people’s well-being. sential to explore and illustrate how daylight can ing source of life. Entering the building through the numerous win- ning were discussed. says Lisa Heschong, who led a project team that ‘Wellness’ has become a mass phenomenon of pro- contribute to and enhance human health, learn- dows, natural daylight illuminates the interior and analysed the impacts of daylighting on human per- viding well-being and relaxation by means of light, ing and productivity. With this issue of Daylight penetrates right down into the basement. formance, and gave a lecture on this issue at the heat and water in countless variations. A good and Architecture we focus on how outdoor and in- second VELUX Daylight Symposium in Bilbao. example of this is the new spa designed by Beh- door climates, views and most notably daylight can Studies show that daylight considerably affects nisch Architekten, Bad Aibling in Upper Bavaria. substantially effect our lives. Through the frames motivation and the ability to concentrate. And day- They created a spacious spa landscape focusing of daylight. light and an outdoor view stimulate the learning on views of the surrounding area. ability of school pupils in the classroom. Sunlight Daylight and an outdoor view stimulate the Enjoy your read. is vital for human health and well-being. Sunlight children’s learning abilities at the special school in can help cure diseases like tuberculosis and rickets, Schwechat near Vienna, designed by architects speed up the healing of wounds and even relieve fasch&fuchs. The new primary school in Kings- pain. Significantly more people contract diseases mead in the north of England, designed by Craig due to lack of light in their lives than people who White, is not only an ideal learning environment AUTUMN 2007 CONTENTS ISSUE 06 1 Discourse by Kim Dirckinck-Holmfeld NOW 4 MANKIND 8 VELUX INSIGHT 48 2 VELUX Editorial 3 Contents AND ARCHITECTURE LEARNING THROUGH 4 Now LIGHT AND LIFE LIGHTNESS 8 Mankind and architecture FROM THE SUN Light and Life from the Sun18 Daylighting Bad Aibling32 Universal Light Jean Nouvel’s planned new Louvre building in Abu Many people do everything they can to avoid ex- Photo by Julian Calverley Dhabi stands out due to its filigree cupola – as well posure to the sun; the fear of sunstroke and the un-34 Reflections as his masterful renderings. Video stills adorn the healthy effects of UV light are simply too deeply Zonnestraal Sanatorium colourful facade of the Netherlands Institute for engrained. Any yet, even in times of global warm-40 Daylighting Sound and Vision in Hilversum, greetings to the ing, sunlight is one of the best things that nature Home Away from Home bereaved, the plastic-film cupola in the Atocha has to offer to the human body. Richard Hobday Special school in Schwechat memorial in Madrid. Also: The retrospective of a explains why, and what consequences this could48 VELUX Insight master photographer in Düsseldorf. have for architecture. Learning through Lightness Primary School in Kingsmead56 VELUX Dialogue More Light VELUX Daylight Symposium 6–7 May in Bilbao62 Books With their primary school in Kingsmead, a town Reviews in the north of England, White Design created an64 Preview outstanding example of how to build a sustainable construction as a learning environment. With its very dynamic roof construction, the wooden build- ing is not only based on modern technologies which save energy and raw materials but also allows the schoolchildren to experience these features. Day- light plays an important role in this, ensuring a pleasant learning climate and enabling the school to make substantial energy savings. 2 D&A SPRING 2007 ISSUE 05 3
  4. 4. NOW The things that make architecture tick: If one is to believe Sheikh Khalifa bin the responsibility of Frank Gehry; vious coastline, a complex of small LOUVRE WITH Zayed Al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi, the Performing Arts Centre is being buildings – museum pavilions, open events, competitions and selected new devel- A LACE CAP the largest of the seven United Arab planned by Zaha Hadid, and the Mar- terraces and water basins – is start- opments from the world of daylighting. Emirates is set to become one of the itime Museum bears the hallmarks of ing to emerge. This complex will be world’s foremost cultural metropo- Tadao Ando’s work. For the Museum crowned by a broad, flat dome with a lises over the next ten years. In early of Classical Art, the Emirate has en- diameter of some 180 metres which, 2007, the desert state presented gaged Paris-based architect Jean according to Jean Nouvel, repre- plans for four prestigious cultural Nouvel – and one other high-profile sents a link between the world cul- projects to the public: an offshoot partner from France: Abu Dhabi has tures. The dome “is made up of a web of the Guggenheim Museum, the paid around EUR 700 million for the of different patterns interlaced into Saadiyat Performing Arts Centre, a privilege of giving the completed new a translucent ceiling which lets a dif- maritime museum and a museum of building the name Louvre Abu Dhabi. fuse, magical light come through in A FLICKERING classical art. All four establishments Moreover, France has pledged to sup- the best tradition of great Arabian FACADE OF FILM are to be based on the 27 square kilo- ply this desert outpost with works of architecture”. The presence of water metre Saadiyat Island, in English: the art from the Louvre Paris for its first and the constant sea breeze should Island of Happiness. The list of the ten years of existence. make for a pleasant climate under- architects leading the projects reads Jean Nouvel’s design is a study neath the dome. Henri Matisse meets Nam June Paik like a Who’s Who of world architec- of the museum’s location, between – these or similar associations are ture: the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is desert and sea: just beyond the pre- those evoked by a first look at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum. And the thought of Korean video artist Paik, at least, sums things up pretty accurately: the Dutch artist Jaap Drupsteen used 748 stills from the films stored in the four underground levels of the build- ing for his facade concept. The Insti- tute for Sound and Vision houses an archive of all the audio and visual ma- terials it receives from Dutch radio and television history. In its seven upper floors the building, which was designed by Neutelings Riedijk Archi- tects, offers room for offices, a mu- seum and a multimedia library. The above-ground and underground sec- tions of the building are connected via a cruciform plenum: looking north- south, the eyes drift upwards the atrium; looking east-west, a chasm- like light well falls away right down to the fourth underground level. The fa- cade and front entrance of the build- ing face south, allowing the afternoon light to penetrate and illuminate the foyer in an almost magical way. The Institute’s facades are a joint project of Neutelings Riedijk, Jaap Drupsteen and glass-maker Saint- Gobain, who commissioned a new production line especially for the manufacture of the required panes of glass – more than 2,100 in all. The film stills were transferred onto the panes using a recently developed dig- ital printing process with ceramic inks. In a second step, the blank side of the glass panes was engraved withPHOTO: DARIA SCAGLIOLA & STIJN BRAKKEE a relief of the same image, so that all 748 images can be seen on both sides RENDERINGS: ATELIERS JEAN NOUVEL of the glass – sometimes in two di- mensions, sometimes in three. The reliefs were first milled as negative moulds made of MDF, then given a ceramic coating before finally serv- ing as moulds for the viscous glass at temperatures of 820 degrees. 4 D&A AUTUMN 2007 ISSUE 06 5
  5. 5. GRAPHICS: SANGWOOK PARK, HONORABLE MENTION IN INTERNATIONAL VELUX AWARD 2006, PROJECT NO. 369. HIROSHI SUGIMOTO: SEAGRAM BUILDING, 1997 SILVER GELATINE PRINT, 149,2 X 119,4 CM. PRIVATE COLLECTION (ARCHITEKT: LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE) PHOTO: ROLAND HALBE PHOTO: ENRICO CANOTHIRD LIGHT OF TURIN FIRMAMENT THE BLUE VOID HIROSHI SUGIMOTO:TOMORROW RETROSPECTIVE IN DÜSSELDORFOn 1 October, the third International practicing architects and represent- In Italy’s automobile capital Turin, The church building itself is also On 11 March 2004, exactly two and was constructed from 15,000 imbri- Continuing until 6 January 2008, the targeted use of soft focus. AlthoughVELUX Award for students of archi- atives from UIA and EAAE and the there is much at the start of the new highly symbolic, with the sacred a half years after the attacks on the cate bricks, each measuring 30x20x7 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-West- the images are stripped of all de-tecture, Light of Tomorrow, opens. students must submit their projects millennium that heralds the end of number seven playing the central World Trade Center in New York, ten centimetres and made of solid, colour- falen art museum in Düsseldorf is tail, the buildings remain recognis-The Award event runs every sec- before 8 May 2008. All submitted one era and the beginning of a new role. The church is constructed in bombs went off during morning rush less glass. The bricks are self-support- currently showing a retrospective of able, but other aspects come to theond year, with the first being held in projects will be exhibited at the XXIII one. One of the epicentres of renova- seven elements, each 35 metres in hour at Madrid’s Atocha station. 191 ing and were joined together using the work of Japanese photographer fore: reflections of the sunlight, the2004. It is targeted at students and UIA World Congress of Architecture tion in the city is located in its north- height, arranged like slices of a cake people were killed and 1,800 injured; acrylic adhesive. Inside the glass cyl- Hiroshi Sugimoto. Born in 1948, the texture of a cloudy sky, or dramaticteachers at schools of architecture in Turin in summer 2008. west quarter. Once dominated by and that come together around a in the days that followed, thousands inder hangs a bell-shaped interior artist, who has been living in the USA contrasts of light and shade on theall over the world. The Award is in- The jury members in 2004 the furnaces and mills of heavy in- central hollow cylinder, like the key- of Madrid’s residents and tourists dome made of ETFE foil, upon which since 1970, is one of the most impor- buildings’ surfaces.tended to encourage and challenge were Glenn Murcutt, Craig Dykers, dustry, in the years to come the area stone of a church vault. The seven left messages of condolence at the the messages received from all over tant photographic artists alive today. In his latest series, Sugimoto re-students of architecture to explore John Pawson, Ole Bouman, Ahmet is earmarked for the development ‘towers’ are open to the interior of the site of the bombings and on the Inter- the world in the wake of the bombings In his great, incredibly detailed large- mains a devotee of representationalthe theme of sunlight and daylight in Gülgönen, James Horan and Michael of housing for 15,000 people. For church below and glazed to reveal net. A selection of these now adorns have been imprinted. The tautness of format photos – mostly rendered in photography; however, his subjectsits widest sense in order to create a Pack; in 2006, Kengo Kuma, Róisin Turin Cardinal Severino Poletto, this the sky above; their skylights, set at a the interior dome of the monument the foil dome is maintained by a series black and white – Sugimoto deals are becoming even more reduc-deeper understanding of this source Heneghan, Omar Rabie, Douglas was reason enough to give the new 45 degree inward angle, allow abun- erected for the victims, which was of fans which create a constant vac- with subjects such as time and mem- tive. In Colors of Shadow, a seriesof light and energy. The IVA seeks Steidl, Per Olaf Fjeld and Massimo quarter a religious hub as well. With dant daylight into the church inte- unveiled on the third anniversary of uum between the two shells and thus ory, reality and representation. Using of colour photographs of an unfur-to explore the boundaries of day- Buccilli. The jury members for the Mario Botta, he commissioned one rior. Outside, the towers are flanked the attacks: one example reads “Hace “suck” the foil upwards. extremely long exposure times, mas- nished Tokyo apartment, Sugimotolight in architecture, including aes- 2008 Award are currently being of the most prominent church ar- by a corona of side chapels, which falta mucha fantasia para soportar The memorial can be visited via terful use of light and selective soft explores the interplay of light andthetics, functionality, sustainability, appointed. Jury evaluation will take chitects of our time to design a new for their part are supplied with day- la realidad (A great deal of imagina- the Atocha underground station: focus, he is able to portray reality in dark, surface and space created byand the interaction between build- place in June 2008, and VELUX will church building, conference hall and light through lower-level roof open- tion is needed to in order to bear re- from here, the visitor can gain access a way never before perceptible to the the daylight falling on the abstractings and environment. The Award is announce and celebrate the winners community centre with a 700-per- ings reminiscent of light shafts. The ality)”. And the five young architects to an austere blue space extending human eye. Sugimoto’s rise to fame white walls. The Conceptual Formsnot restricted to the use of VELUX at an award event in November 2008 son capacity for the quarter. inclined roof areas between the tow- from the Estudio FAM 2003 practice over almost 500 square metres, the started in the mid-1970s with his series shows plaster representationsproducts. to which the winning students will, Santo Volto church stands on the ers are faced with maplewood; the certainly proved their capacity for “vacio azul” (blue void), as it is called Theaters series; long-exposure im- of mathematical models from the The concept of the Award is that of course, be invited. Previous Award site of what was once a steelworks side walls and floor of the church, on imagination when they won the com- by the architects. Estudio FAM as- ages of movie theatres and drive-ins. Tokyo University collection, whichteachers nominate student projects events were held in Paris and Bilbao belonging to the Fiat Group. Its 60- the other hand, are surfaced with red petition to build the memorial. Their sociates a certain claim to eternity The exposure of the film in the cam- Sugimoto elevates to the status ofcompleted during the academic where the winning students and metre high chimney is now a church Veronese marble. From the door- renderings showed an irregularly with its structure: the intention is era lasted as long as the film on the abstract sculptures through effec-years 2006/07 and 2007/08. An their teachers had the opportunity tower and provides a distinctive way, the eye is immediately drawn curved glass dome in whose interior for future generations to be able to screen, thus allowing a single photo- tive use of lighting.internationally acclaimed jury will to meet the jury members and other landmark for the new church which to the church’s altarpiece: a raster- the inscriptions seemed, in some read the messages of the mourners graph to show the sum of all the de- The Düsseldorf exhibition is theevaluate all the submitted projects representatives from the interna- can be seen for miles around. Around ised image of the Shroud of Turin. In mysterious way, to be floating. too. Whether the unusual structure, tails of the film, which – how could first stop on a tour which will takeon the criteria of conceptual idea, ex- tional community of architects and the outside of the tower winds a helix order to achieve the desired effect, In its execution, the dome may which has never yet been tested on it be otherwise – blend together to in three further stages. It comprisesperimental thinking and critical dis- building professionals. Read more at made of high-grade steel with hori- the architects used stones with two have lost its extravagant shape, but such a scale, will be able to deliver on form a dazzling white square. nine series of works as well as, at thecussion and will award a total sum zontal ‘thorns’ designed to be rem- different types of surface that con- it has in no way lost its apparent this score remains to be seen. In the Architecture series (1997 centre of the exhibition, Sugimoto’sof €30,000 to the winning students iniscent of Christ’s crown. A metal verge in the sidelights to form the weightlessness – and this despite onwards) Sugimoto creates alien- aluminium sculpture, Onduloid.and teachers. The jury consists of cross at the top provides the finish- face of Jesus. weighing a good 160 tonnes. Its outer ated images of much-photographedacclaimed professionals including ing touch. shell, an 11-metre high glass cylinder, icons of modern architecture by a6 D&A AUTUMN 2007 ISSUE 06 7
  6. 6. MANKIND Mankind as the focal point of architecture: By Richard Hobday AND ARCHITECTURE interior views of a corresponding relationship. Kept to within reasonable limits, direct sunlight is the best thing that nature can do for our health. Some of its effects have been known for thousands of years. This makes it all the more astonishing that physicians and architects have long reacted to this knowledge LIGHT AND LIFE with ignorance or rejection. And, all too often, this reaction remains unchanged. FROM THE SUN Medical practice has often had a direct and very profound influence on the development of architecture; and nowhere is this more evident than in the guiding principles of the Modern Movement. The ideas which first informed Mod- ernism were formulated at a time when the building profes- sions were in the vanguard of a battle against tuberculosis. Throughout Europe, hundreds of thousands of people were dying each year from the `white plague’, which, although in retreat, was still taking more lives than smallpox, typhoid, scarlet fever and all the other infectious diseases of the era combined. Many of the pioneers of modern architecture were involved in the construction of tuberculosis sanato- ria. They were familiar with the medicine of their day and sometimes worked alongside doctors who used sunlight to cure their patients. In , the Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded to Dr. Niels Finsen, the Danish physician and scientist who discov- ered that ultraviolet radiation could heal Lupus Vulgaris, a form of tuberculosis thought to be incurable. Finsen’s Nobel Prize followed the discovery by two British scientists in  that the sun’s rays could kill bacteria, and could do so having PHOTO: ERICH LESSING / AKG-IMAGES passed through glass. Their work prompted other scientists to investigate the effects of exposing bacteria to the sun’s rays, and it was not long before sunlight was being hailed as `nature’s universal disinfectant’ and an important weapon in the fight against infectious diseases. Sunlit rooms were held to be hygi- enic, while those that did not admit the sun’s rays were not. Architects began designing hospitals with large south-facing windows to admit direct sunlight and prevent the spread of Opposite: Iris of a human eye. The Above: Imhotep is regarded as fact that bright light has a positive the first master builder to be tuberculosis and other pathogens. They built terraces and bal- effect on the human psyche has known by name in human history. conies where patients with tuberculosis could be exposed to been known for a long time. The But Imhotep was also an early the sun under medical supervision, a practice which became receptors in the eye which all-round scholar. He was an known as heliotherapy. responsible for this, however, astronomer, doctor and priest of were not discovered until 2002. the ancient Egyptian cult of the During the First World War, military surgeons used the sun and thus personifies the link sun’s rays to disinfect and heal the wounds of casualties on between the sun, architecturePHOTO: JOE MCNALLY / GETTY IMAGES both sides of the conflict. Then in , medical researchers and medicine. proved that sunlight could cure rickets, a crippling bone dis- ease that had been endemic in England, and elsewhere, for nearly  years. The discovery of the sanitary and then the therapeutic properties of sunlight brought about by Finsen and others had a marked effect on building design from the 8 D&A AUTUMN 2007 ISSUE 06 9
  7. 7. Left: Florence Nightingale (1820- Below: Our genes also determine 1910) is regarded as the pioneer how we react to sunlight; this of modern nursing. Her example varies from person to person. PHOTOS: DIANA NEELY / TAXI / GETTY IMAGES inspired her admirers, who Scientists even assume that the included Henri Dunant, to found tendency to suffer from skin the Red Cross. In her books cancer depends more on the ’Notes on Nursing’ and ’Notes on genes than exposure to sunlight. Hospitals’ in the middle of the 19th century, she pointed out the antibacterial and healing effects of sunlight. turn of the century onwards. In his influential manifesto The Today, Imhotep is remembered as the master-builder of one eclipse and rediscovery When Florence Nightingale made these observations, archi- Athens Charter, Le Corbusier proclaimed that: of the world’s great monuments; but he also personifies the However, in the years that followed the Fall of Rome, doc- tects and doctors were still largely unaware of the health ben- “To bring in the sun, that is the new and the most imper- historic link between the sun, architecture and medicine. The tors attached rather less importance to sunlight, hygiene and efits of getting sunlight indoors. Her thinking on the subject ative duty of the architect.” ancient Egyptians worshipped the sun for its healing powers sanitation. There is barely a reference to the sun in western was in advance of scientific opinion and ran counter to the In fact, there was nothing new about it. Throughout the and used sunlight as a medicine. The Ebers Papyrus, one of medical literature until the end of the th century. And it prevailing orthodoxy, which was to keep patients out of direct ancient world, architects and engineers built for the sun. They the oldest surviving Egyptian medical texts, recommends it. was not to be until the latter part of the th century, follow- sunlight. She believed that a view of the sky and especially sun undertook much of this work to facilitate sun worship and mark Some of the most distinguished doctors in Greece, Rome and ing the rediscovery of the sun’s health benefits, that buildings was of the utmost importance to the sick. Something else she the sun’s path through the heavens. They also appreciated that the Arabic world practised sunlight therapy. The Romans built were arranged to admit its rays again. In England, the govern- insisted on was fresh air, and lots of it. The air within a hos- sunlit buildings could prevent disease. Nearly five thousand solaria where they could sunbathe for health, and their best vil- ment had introduced a Window Tax , and while this tax pital ward had to be as pure as the air outside, without chill- years ago, work began on Egypt’s first pyramid; the Step Pyr- las, baths and health temples were carefully oriented for the sun. was in force, windows were bricked up and houses were often ing the patients. Air was not fresh if it was not warmed by the amid at Saqqara, near Memphis. The architect in charge was Indeed, the citizens of Imperial Rome considered sun exposure designed with the minimum of fenestration to avoid payment. sun, nor was it safe if it came from anywhere other than an also a doctor, and the high priest of an Egyptian solar cult. so important they had right-to-sunlight legislation. Unfortunately the tradition of inadequate windows extended open window. In the s, the effect of poor ventilation on well beyond the abolition of the tax in . In addition, the the sick and the well were not generally recognised. It was not air pollution and dismal housing that accompanied the Indus- unusual for medical staff to keep ward windows hermetically trial Revolution meant that sunlight was in very short supply closed for fear of lowering the air temperature. outside buildings as well as in them. Florence Nightingale was an advocate of the pavilion sys- While legislators may have been ignorant of the relation- tem, originally a French arrangement of separate ward units. ship between sunlight and occupant well-being during this The Nightingale ward, as it became known, was extensively period, high levels of natural light were encouraged in hos- glazed by the standards of the day. A minimum of one large pitals by a few enlightened individuals, including Florence window for every two beds provided patients with copious Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing. Miss Nightingale amounts of fresh air and natural light. However, it was to be considered sunlight vital in providing a healthy environment many years before her ideas gained acceptance. In , the for the sick. This was emphasised in her Notes on Hospitals Royal Institute of British Architects published a report on sun- of  as follows: light penetration in buildings, in which they referred to the “Direct sunlight, not only daylight, is necessary for speedy principles described in Notes on Hospitals, as follows: recovery, except, perhaps, in certain ophthalmic and a small “It is gratifying to note that some architects are at last, number of other cases. Instances could be given, almost although half a century too late, beginning to take advantage endless, where, in dark wards or in wards with a northern of Florence Nightingale’s common sense…” aspect, even when thoroughly warmed, or in wards with With the discovery that sunlight could cure rickets and borrowed light, even when thoroughly ventilated, the sick tuberculosis, and that it could kill bacteria, there were good could not by any means be made speedily to recover... All grounds for getting sunlight in and around buildings. The hospital buildings in this climate should be erected so that architectural language that Le Corbusier developed from the as great a surface as possible should receive direct sunlight s onwards reflects this; drawing its inspiration from the – a rule which has been observed in several of our best hos- sunlit ward of the sanatorium, and the terraces of the heliother-PHOTO: ADRIAN NEAL / STONE / GETTY IMAGES pitals, but, I am sorry to say, passed over in some of those apy clinic. His iconic Villa Savoye, built near Paris in , is most recently constructed. Window-blinds can always mod- designed for sunbathing. The living quarters on the first floor erate the light of a light ward; but the gloom of a dark ward of face into a sun terrace. This incorporates a ramp that goes up is irremediable... The escape of heat may be diminished by to a sunbathing enclosure on the roof, which is sheltered by a plate or double glass. But while we can generate warmth, screen of straight and curved walls. Le Corbusier believed the we cannot generate daylight, or the purifying and curative sun conferred physical and moral regeneration on those who effect of the sun’s rays.” exposed themselves to its rays. He was a keen sunbather, and 10 D&A AUTUMN 2007 ISSUE 06 11
  8. 8. P 11: Sunlight has often been Previous and below: The person completely ’blocked out’ of as the starting point and goal hospitals since the middle of the of architectural design: Le 20th century. It is only in recent Corbusier’s ’Modulor’ symbolises years that they have become this standpoint even today. In aware of its benefits again. Le Corbusier’s architecture, Studies have shown that sunlight large roof terraces on which the can sometimes considerably residents could sunbathe were speed up the healing process. taken for granted. It was only later that scientists began to be sceptical and realised the damaging effects of UV radiation. was greatly concerned about the dangers of tuberculosis. This is clear from the book he wrote in the s on one of his later buildings; L’Unité d’Habitation or Marseille Block: “Doling out cosmic energy, the sun’s effects are both phys- ical and moral, and they have been too much neglected in recent times. The results of that neglect can be seen in ceme- tery and sanatorium.” L’Unité d’Habitation was the realisation of the mass hous- ing schemes that had exercised Le Corbusier since the s. He designed L’Unité to alleviate a severe post-war housing shortage in France. This milestone of modern architecture is arranged for sunlight and incorporates many of the features of a heliotherapy clinic. Balconies on both the east and west facades serve as sunscreens or ‘brise-soleil’ that shade the apart- ments in the summer months. They are also what Le Corbusier called an ‘open-air extension’ of each living room. In addition, L’Unité d’Habitation has a terraced roof that provides ameni- ties for the residents, including a solarium. the decline of the sun – again Until the middle years of the last century, natural lighting PHOTO: KLAUS FRAHM / ARTUR largely determined the plan of a building and the design of its external envelope. But with the advent of low-wattage flu- orescent tubes in the s, and air conditioning, reflective glass and cheap energy, the urban landscape began to change. Daylight was no longer a critical design element, as these tech- nological advances made lighting deep-plan buildings a prac- tical proposition. Medicine was changing too. Improvements in living standards led to a decrease in tuberculosis and rick- ets; and the arrival of antibiotics in the s meant that infec- tious diseases were much more amenable to treatment. This isPHOTO: PETE TURNER / THE IMAGE BANK / GETTY IMAGES reflected in hospital design where sunlit, airy wards came to be replaced by structures that were more complex, and were closed to the elements. Gradually, the emphasis shifted from putting hospital patients in wards that supported healing and prevented infection, to ones that created a comfortable and more convenient environment for patients and staff. Sixty years ago, it was well recognised that sunlit wards have fewer bac- teria in them. Today it is not. However, strains of tuberculo- sis have emerged that are resistant to antibiotics, and one of D&A AUTUMN 2007 ISSUE 06 13
  9. 9. A hot bath relaxes body and mind – and all the more so if it is combined with a spot of sunbathing. Luminous intensi- ties of around 2000 lux and more stimulate the circadian system and the human psyche. the so-called `superbugs’ that infect our hospitals is becoming established in the wider community. The mrsa bacterium, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, has long been a serious problem in wards and nursing homes where it infects patients weakened by disease or injury. But a strain has emerged that can infect healthy young people who have had no prior hospital exposure. With drug-resistant bacteria posing an ever- greater threat to public health, sunlight’s germicidal proper- ties merit rather more attention than they receive. So too do the therapeutic properties of sunlit spaces. bright light In Greece and Rome, physicians called the emotion associ- ated with gloom and darkness `melancholia’; and the idea that lethargy, sadness and despair can be triggered by low light lev- els is certainly a very ancient one. During the s, scien- tific evidence emerged of a link between depressive illness andPHOTO: MICROZOA LIMITED / PHOTONICA / GETTY IMAGES light deprivation. Based on this and other more recent find- ings, it has become clear that building occupants do not get enough bright light to have a positive impact on their health and emotional stability. The light levels required for this are much higher than those needed to perform visual tasks. Elec- tric lighting developed under the assumption that the only sig- nificant purpose of light for humans is to see. Until recently, the impact of artificial light on physiological and psycholog- ical well-being was not generally considered. A major breakthrough came in , when scientists dis- Sensitivity to light and the covered a new sensory system in the human eye. This is not susceptibility to certain skin diseases resulting from it is involved in vision: it is there to receive and respond to light, hereditary. Nevertheless, all sending signals directly to the body’s biological clock. This people depend on vitamin D clock, in turn, regulates the secretion of hormones and neu- PHOTO: MASAAKI TOYURA / TAXI JAPAN / GETTY IMAGES synthesis by the skin, for which rotransmitters in the brain. These have a direct influence on sunlight is essential. our health and the amount of light and darkness we expose ourselves to dictates when, and how much of them, is secreted. Although bright light is known to have health benefits, and has been used to treat conditions such as seasonal affective disorder (sad) and non-seasonal depression for some time, no one knows exactly how, or why, it works. The discovery of this new photosensitive system explains a great deal about the ways in which light affects our well-being. 14 D&A AUTUMN 2007 ISSUE 06 15