Light Matters

Light Matters

By HMHAI / Published by HMHAI

When asking people what matters most in their lives, they usually offer up values like friendship, health and happiness. Even though people might not mention it at first, daylight certainly does a great deal to keep us healthy and happy, enriching our everyday lives. So daylight does, indeed, matter to all of us, although we only become acutely aware of this fact when it is lacking.

While most people spend the majority of life indoors, we crave that connection to the natural world that sunlight brings. It’s more than just vitamin D – the pull of a view outside and access to daylight is built into our psyche. It triggers our circadian rhythms and contributes to our health and well-being. 

If there is one consistency among modern architecture, it’s an abundance of nice, generous windows. Nothing says inspiring, healthy living like ample daylight, fresh air, and views. These projects are some of our favorite examples of lighting at its best. Which is your favorite? 

Happy Daylight Savings! We hope you all get out and enjoy an extra hour of daylight!

Unexpected Light

A large skylight in Aidlin Darling’s Light Loft provides direct and filtered light to the center of the home — an area that would otherwise be dark. Light travels down the stair reaching many rooms, and making the spaces feel connected to the sky and outdoors.

Endless Light

There are instances when the outdoors should be seamlessly part of the indoor experience and vice versa. No-one has done this better than Graham Johnson in his Skywood House. The floor to ceiling glass is uninterrupted by structure or heavy window frames. In Colorado with our beautiful weather and scenery there are many instances where the transition from indoors to outdoors should be a transparent as possible.

Balanced Light

The distinct form of Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Museum‘s cycloid barrel vaults are rimmed with narrow plexiglass skylights, providing room for natural light to penetrate into the spaces. To diffuse this light, pierced-aluminum reflectors shaped like wings hang below, illuminating the smooth surfaces of the concrete vault while providing elegant and enchanting light conditions for the works of art.

Focused Light

While connecting inside to outside with large expanses of glass is a hallmark of modern architecture, just as innovative was the use of select openings to focus on specific views and create interesting lighting effects. These controlled views and single sunbeam washing down the wall make Can Lis by Jorn Utzon feel calm and contemplative.

Creative Light

A Turrell Skyspace is a specifically proportioned chamber with an aperture in the ceiling open to the sky. Though you aren’t looking at a representation of light, but simply light itself, the oculus can be mistaken for a painting. The world becomes simplified to a small section of the sky, but nothing feels confined, and it’s very easy to forget that you’re gazing at something as vast and common as a sunset.

Connected Light

Designed by Room 11 Architects, The Allens Rivulet house is built around a central outdoor courtyard, providing transit space between two cutout indoor/outdoor rooms. Where windows are practical, they’re large, providing sweeping views for miles around. Impressively elegant and modern, the varied levels of shelter allow outdoor activities take place within the confines of the building envelope.

Colorful Light 

While having this much stained glass in a residence would be distracting and inappropriate, some small amount might make a big difference in a hallway, living or dining room. The color created by the Olsen Kundig Gethsemane Lutheran Church‘s stained glass is ethereal and evokes joy and wonder. Who wouldn’t want to bring a little joy and wonder to their home?


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