As we assembled the content for this issue on daylighting, I have not been able to get the image of the Pantheon in Rome out of my head. Just say the word “daylighting” and my mind automatically leaps to that iconic interior image of the temple's coffered ceiling and oculus with a shaft of light streaming down into the center of the space. While it might be a bit much to expect that every daylighting project have the heroic attributes of a space like the Pantheon, I do think it is reasonable to expect today's architectural lighting design projects to seriously consider their relationship to light, no matter the project typology.
Daylighting as a lighting strategy is not simple—it is far more than a space with windows and shades. We have organized this edition of Architectural Lighting to touch on issues and projects that represent a range of thinking about daylighting—from advanced technical systems to core building principles of site and aperture. As my own thinking on the subject has evolved, I have come to the conclusion that daylighting affords us the opportunity to pause and re-examine the very essence of the society we have become—a 24/7 culture where technology allows us to control our environments independently of time of day or season. In mankind's evolution from an agrarian-based society to a post-industrial one, have we lost a basic connection to and understanding of light? I think so.
There is no doubt in my mind that I would prefer to be in a sunny space, and this feeling has been reinforced by the fact that I work in a windowless office with an indirect/direct luminaire fitted with an aluminum cross baffle and three T5 4100K fluorescent lamps. (How ironic that the editor of lighting magazine works in such conditions! I can only wonder what long-term effect this will have on my health and vitamin D levels.) Did the interior designer or space planner who laid out this room give any consideration to what it would be like to work in this space? I doubt it, as their principal focus probably was centered on fitting in the mandatory office furnishings.
Daylighting, as it turns out, just might be the most important lighting discussion of today. It always has been part of this magazine's focus. In A|L's first issue two articles—“Daylighting Can Improve the Quality of Light—and Save Energy” and “Lighting Control Technology Grows in Importance”—very well could have been the titles of articles in the present volume. What have we learned in 22 years? I believe we must demand the creation of quality environments to reclaim a connection to the world around us. We cannot continue to live in the hermetically sealed environments of our homes and offices. It already has modified our behavior patterns (i.e. less sleep, less exposure to sunlight) and will continue to do so if we do not move daylighting topics to the forefront of our design discussions.
To that end, I am particularly excited to see such an impressive lineup of seminar offerings at this year's Lightfair Daylighting Institute. Although Lightfair generally is not a stop on the architecture community's conference agenda, I would urge the architectural readership of A|L to reconsider a visit this May to Las Vegas to hear and learn about daylighting firsthand, from some of the most well-respected and knowledgeable daylighting practitioners today. And for the first time, in my estimation, at the American Institute of Architects National Convention in Boston, two pre-convention seminars will be given by lighting practitioners and make heading to the conference a day early completely worthwhile—Robert Osten Jr. and Keith Yancey's “Taking Back the Sun: The Architect's Role in Daylighting Design,” and Edward Bartholomew, Joel Loveland, and Christopher Meek's “Integrated Lighting Design for High-Performance Buildings.”
APRIL/MAY 2008 EXCHANGE QUESTION How will the upswing of mergers and acquisitions among lighting manufacturers change the industry landscape? What impact will it have on research and development of new products and technologies? And how will it impact the specification and distribution process?
To be considered for print, responses are requested by March 24, 2008.
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