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Importance Of Natural Light In Home Architecture And How To Maximize It

Best Guide When You Design Your Home

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, a famous pioneering Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner and writer, is said to have quoted regarding modern home architecture.

“Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.”
The key word here is the light. Indians have always factored in the light, ventilation and weather in their homes for centuries.
Factoring the role of light in architectural design, it is the natural light that takes the spotlight. Natural light is the light that comes from the sun; usually called daylight. Depending on the time of the day, weather and geographical location, natural light can have variations of colour, direction and intensity. Light also can improve mood, get better visibility and minimize artificial lighting needs. For a sustainable future, this has to be understood by architects.
In terms of architecture, natural light has a very crucial role in building design. This enhances the space’s quality. Well-lit, comfortable and visually captivating environments are created by the consideration of natural light.
Delving deeper into the role of natural light in architectural design, there are ways in which natural light can be effectively incorporated. Coming further to the point of maximising natural light, various design strategies can help.

Daylighting

The natural light has to be used strategically to ensure optimal illumination of the interior space. Architects make the penetration of light possible in various ways, such as large windows, light wells, skylights and reflective surfaces. The way the windows are placed doesn’t always have to do with the airflow. Most of the time it is the combination of wind and light. It has usually been noticed that windows that face south get more sunlight from the north and windows that face north get more sunlight from the south. East and west side windows need additional props to maximize or minimize the light conditions. While not exactly windows, skylights and clerestory windows (windows above eye level) can help bring in more sunlight. Light wells and atriums help bring natural light to the deeper external walls. This not only gives a bright impression but also gives a sense of open spaciousness.

Solar Orientation

The orientation of the building when properly evaluated can also be maximally utilized for natural light input. The orientation of the building in a way that natural light is effectively captured helps in hugely reducing artificial lighting costs. When the building orientation is aligned to the east-west axis following the sun’s pathway throughout the day and also according to the seasons, it gives a very good insight into how this light can be maximally harnessed.

Light Shelves

Horizontal shelf surfaces above the eye level near the window areas help reflect the natural light into the inner part of the building. This helps reduce the dependence on artificial lights and distributes the light properly.

Reflective Surfaces

Usage of reflectance materials that amplify reflection such as light-coloured paints or textural materials on surfaces such as tiles or laminates can help reflect the natural light into the deep inner spaces.

Shades

Shading devices installed externally like louvres or awnings can give you the ability to control the amount of sunlight entering the building. Hot temperature and heat glare can be reduced considerably or customized to suit the geographical climate of the place.

Design of Interiors

The interior spaces have to be designed in a manner that the natural light is effectively and efficiently distributed. This involves having a combination of open floor plans, non-obstructive inner design, light wall colours, and reflective surfaces thereby a perfect way to evenly distribute the light in the space.

Artificial controls

One can have dimmers, sensors or light controllers to adjust the inner artificial light. Though this is the last option if the natural light cannot be harnessed well, this helps in minimizing energy consumption.
The major point that emerges out of this is that when the architectural design has a scientific play with natural light and its conditions, the energy efficiency improves and energy consumption reduces drastically. This leads to a very sustainable solution for architects and designers. Not only that, this also leads to better ways of harnessing wind and water sources in the building, making the whole building design a natural progression of a sustainable idea of living.
Sarah Richardson, a Canadian interior designer and television personality says that –
“Light is the magical ingredient that makes or breaks a space.”

Nothing can be more truer than this! Art like architecture also uses the play of light to show moods, time of day and colours in paintings, sculptures and performances. We have a lot to work on harnessing this amazing energy resource to our advantage. As architects and interior designers, we have a great need to push this concept of light ahead into making smart buildings the norm of living.

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