light and shade when building a home is something that is often underutilized by Architects.
We may think of window placement and skylights as essentials in order to achieve maximum ambient light but it’s much more than that. Clever use of light and shade plays a crucial role in its relationship with architecture, both internally and externally. When used correctly, light helps shape the form of the building, distinguishing the architecture from day and night. A clever design will consider ambient light from different times of the day, right through to seasonal changes in natural light.
A common theme nowadays is to introduce some form of natural lighting by way of internal light wells and roof windows. These are a fantastic way to create more ambient light. However one must be mindful of its positioning so that it does not flood the space with too much light, especially directly on the homes inhabitants.
If you’re lucky enough, you will get to build 1 or 2 homes in your lifetime so its definitely worthwhile researching into how your architect can maximize the use of light and shade. You may want to consider the mood you would want to be in when occupying a particular room or when entering the property at night. It could also be the way the sun would cast shadow during the summer across the porch of your backyard. It’s important to think how the architecture of your home is affected by such light and shade and the best thing of all is that it doesn’t need to cost a fortune to cleverly design around it.
Below are some examples of inspiration which may get you thinking when designing your home.
Artificial exterior illumination – great way to shape the form to give the building a different look at night
Use of artificial light creates pockets of lit and shadowed areas.
Use of trees with natural lighting helps create a tranquil space.
This beautiful looking light well naturally floods the space with light.
The light well alcoves help to bring light into a basement gym space and make the room seem larger.
A roof window helps bring in natural lighting over the kitchen bench.
Architectural lighting changes the facade by night
Another example of how lighting alters the appearance of the facade
Lit stairs enhance the vegetation
This garage/shed looks much more interesting at night.