Day-Lighting Buildings

The primary focus of this course is the study of natural and electric lighting in an architectural context. The course promotes the integration of occupant comfort, energy efficiency and daylight availability throughout the design process and places an emphasis upon the role light can play in shaping architecture. Students will learn a series of design techniques from rules of thumb and simulations to high dynamic range photography and physical model building. Throughout the course students will work in groups and apply these techniques to a semester-long course project in which they will design a small daylit school in a climate and site provided by the instructor. In order to develop a feeling for the physical quantities related to daylight, students will also measure and evaluate the daylighting in a real classroom of their choice. The simulation environment used throughout the course will be a new, free Rhino plug-in called DIVA-for-Rhino. Students will need a legal copy of Rhino to use the plug-in on their computer (VPN works as well). The course format consists of biweekly lectures as well as weekly workshops during which the different design techniques will be practiced. A series of guest lecturers form the Harvard Medical School, the Department of Psychology as well as from practitioners and scholars in the field will broaden the students\’ understanding of light and its impact on human health and performance. Towards the end of the term students will also build a physical massing model of their project and test it in a local heliodon.