Daylighting and Environmental

Of primary importance is comfort and economy of use. Siting of buildings and windows can greatly enhance or detract from these qualities. The free and wonderful resources of sun and wind should be harnessed to help heat and ventilate all spaces.

Outdoor spaces are much more pleasant when south facing, and with a balance of sun and shade, although shade from buildings has quite a different quality from, for instance, tree shade.

    By facing buildings to the south, many problems are alleviated. Such a simple solution helps the building deal with heat gain and loss and interior daylighting. Studies show that daylight, and its naturally varying intensities and cues to the outside, is a fundamental human need. Humans’ circadian rhythms area affected by the cycles of daylight.(Alexander) Daylight does not effectively penetrate more than 15 feet into a space with normal ceiling heights, so without artificial lighting, there is an approximately 25 foot limit to room depth.

    When light comes from more than one direction, as in when there are windows on more than one wall, contrasts of shadows are reduced, and three dimensional shapes, for example facial expressions, are more easily read. For this reason, communication between people is improved when rooms have light on two sides. Glare, also, is reduced, since wall surfaces adjacent to windows are lit by the other windows.(Alexander)

    Lighting of chalkboards must be carefully considered in this light, since reflections from windows make them totally unreadable. Typically, the reflections occur when there is only one light source at an obtuse angle between the chalkboard and the viewer. [more...]

Above: Detail of clerestory which uses colored glass, or stained glass to filter the light onto the ceiling and into the room.

Above right: Light on blackboard area, showing translucent ceiling and colored downward–lighting.

Right: View of inside, showing how light could come through a movable screen (brightly colored with small punctures, at left of picture). Behind the screen would be south-facing windows.

turn to next page...