The light reveals the architecture and simultaneously the importance of the building, it elects it, or leaves it indifferent. The light symbolizes what is found beyond our usual perception, it can reveal or hide and it has the power to drift us. It can reveal symbolisms, or intensify the spirituality of the holy space. In the following research work we will attempt to describe, compreend and reveal the unbreakable relationship of light and architecture by using examples of architects’ work of world influence, such as Le Corbusier, Steven Holl, Frank Lloyd Right, Peter Zumthor, Tadao Ando etc.
The first questions were shaped through the examples that we assembled,. We dealt with the empiric use of light, depending on the culture, the place and the climatic conditions of each person. At the same time, our interest was focused on the use of light as “material” that converts the form, rates the various parts of building and guides the movement in them. Finally, we were impressed by its capacity to transform itself, attributing different interpretation in the space, and by being a mean for the conceptual approach of space.
Having studied well known architects for their work on light and architecture, we tried via an experimental practice to visualize this knowledge. Our experimental target was to understand the concept with which each architect manipulates the natural light, how much he takes it into consideration at the process of planning and what he achieves with this. Finally we aimed at acquiring a cognitive tool of handling the light which we will use in our own synthetic work. During the experiment’s process, we tried to reconsider architectural buildings and to capture their attributes in separately models-room, forming finally the “light cubes”. Via an abstractive process, we made equivalent buildings in cubes in predetermined dimensions, 12 x 12 cm., taking into consideration their geometry and the way their structural elements were placed. In a way, it was a process of deforming the buildings, which however should no way degrade the rendering of light.
The 15 rooms of light that we finally constructed are the following buildings:
1. Peter Zumthor, “Thermal Baths”, Vals (1996)
2. Steven Holl,“Chapel of St. Ignatus”, Seattle (1997)
3. Tadao Ando,“Church of Light”, Ibaraki (1989)
4. Le Corbusier, “Notre Dame du Haut”, Ronchamp(1955)
5. Κρόκος Κυριάκος, “Βυζαντινό Μουσείο”, Θεσσαλονίκη (1993)
6. Zaha Hadid, “Terminal Hoheinheim Nord”,Strasbourg (2001)
7. Shoei Yoh, “Light-Lattice House”, Japan(1981)
8. Toyo Ito, “Serpentine pavillion”,London (2002)
9. Alvaro Siza, “Portuguese Pavillion Expo”,Lisbon (1998)
10. Schultes+Frank, “ Baumschulenweg Crematorium”, Berlin(1998)
11. Louis I. Kahn, “Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (1974)
12. Edward Larrabee with James Carpenter,“Sweeny Chapel”, Indiana (1987)
13. Atelier Tekuto, “Cell Brick House”, Tokyo (2003)
14. Toyo Ito, “T House”, Tokyo (1999)
15. Campo Baeza, “Guerrero House”, Spain (2005)
Each architect usesthe light in a particular way, attributing different use and importance each time.Others use it only as a pattern, others for visitor’s seduction, others as a “structural” element of space.Selecting the suitable opening, material, colour, pattern, proportion of mass and void, the architect achieves the desirable guidance, sense, experience and quality of space.
After “cubes of light’” construction, we lightened the cubes with artificial or natural light during the day and recorded the results.The recording was essential for the organisation and the comprehension of the expanded information that we had collected for our research.According to the observations and the conclusions that we made, we organised a library of light, we selected and categorized the information, based on “rooms’” features and the relationship of each one separately with the light – such as form, shade, experience, space, time, materials, limit, movement, conceptual importance of space, multiple substance of light.We considered the experience, the form, the space and the conceptual importance, as wider units that encompass all the rest.Thus we proceeded in a categorisation with these four units as the basic structure that will constitute finally the chapters of our work.Finally, it should be mentioned that this categorisation is not absolute, as it can be easily realised that certain characteristics can be included in more than one unit because of the direct interrelation that the units have with each other.