The Architecture of Light uses visual data to provide a better understanding of the lighting decision-making process. The book is geared toward design professionals whose primary focus is not architectural lighting.
Charlie Brown The Architecture of Light uses visual data to provide a better understanding of the lighting decision-making process. The book is geared toward design professionals whose primary focus is not architectural lighting.

Released in January 2008, The Architecture of Light is a lighting design textbook that merges fundamental lighting knowledge with graphic techniques for generating and communicating lighting design. The 264-page book is the brainchild of Sage Russell, a lighting designer at San Diego–based Lumia Light Studio and instructor at the Design Institute of San Diego. When asked what inspired him to publish the book, Russell says, “Having taught lighting design to architects and interior designers for seven years, each semester I struggled to provide them a text resource that was practical and applicable in the context of a one-semester lighting education.”

Specifically created as a tool for design professionals whose primary focus is not lighting design, The Architecture of Light concentrates on visual data to provide a deeper understanding of the lighting decision-making process. Color diagrams, photographs, and renderings are used to educate readers about the controllable aspects of light—both electric and daylight—and how they can be applied to architectural spaces. The text, which features 28 chapters divided into three parts—the fundamentals of light, designing light, and deliverables—presents procedures that architects and designers can follow to develop an architectural lighting solution that enhances the design intent of a project.

In addition to outlining the process of lighting design, Russell includes a series of chapters that focus on lighting fundamentals such as the physical properties of light and color, physiology of vision, and the characteristics of electric light sources. An overview is provided for the luminaire selection process, and readers are introduced to a family of “workhorse” products that commonly appear in fixture schedules. Sample cutsheets and images also are provided from a variety of lighting manufacturers, along with case studies of each fixture type. Typical lighting layouts for residential and commercial spaces are supplied, along with frequently used lighting details to illustrate design tactics for a variety of interior environments.

Developed as a supplement to the text, lighting textbook.com features design guides and lecture modules that follow the book's organization. Instructors of lighting design courses can download free PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and exercises based on a 15-week curriculum. The textbook—available for retail orders at amazon.com—and the online tools were developed with the purpose to expose individuals to basic lighting knowledge and offer a true representation of what professional lighting designers do. “Good design comes from faith in a process,” Russell explains. “If a designer knows that they have a reliable method for making design decisions and coming up with concepts, they will have more confidence in their abilities, and will evolve to more innovative design.”