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Glass and Daylighting

Natural light provides a sense of orientation, affecting our surroundings and marking the passage of time. Glass enables us to control and manipulate light to our advantage.

“The sun is the great luminary of all that lives. It should be used as such in the design of every house”
-Frank Lloyd Wright

“It is ridiculous to think that an electric bulb can replace what the sun and the seasons accomplish. It is the natural light that gives architectural space its sense of authenticity”
-Louis I. Kahn

Daylight is the source of life and essential to our wellbeing, development and health. The great architects of every age have understood this, captivated and inspired by its necessity.

Glass enables us to control and manipulate light to our advantage. A window is a link between interior environments, where we live and work, and the outside world.

It can determine the quality of a building, in terms of both architectural design and interior ambiance.

Building with natural light

Light levels and their effect on interior spaces, can influence our daily activities and frame of mind. Some general suggestions are:

  • To open up areas where we spend much time during the day, such as kitchens, dining rooms, reception rooms and offices
  • To encourage natural light into areas of study and work, at home and in the workplace
  • To ensure that rooms are properly ventilated, for health and hygiene reasons
  • To try as far as possible, to include an opening light in humid rooms, such as bathrooms and kitchens. The    ability to freshen and circulate the air by opening a window helps eliminate condensation and promote hygiene
  • To design houses or buildings so that all living areas have access to opening windows
  • To take the external surroundings into account (nearby buildings, vegetation, natural features)
  • To provide natural illumination from more than one direction wherever possible. Glazing on two opposite facades balances lighting levels, softens shadows and opens up the room space

Aesthetic drivers:

There are two drivers of aesthetics:

  • Visual light performance
  • Reflection

Visual light transmission

It is defined as the percentage of the light transmitted through the glass.

Reflection

The reflection of the glass depends on the type of coating and also the position of the coating used on the glass, Lower external reflection helps in the true colour rendering of the building and it is normally suggested to have lower internal reflection to minimize the night time glare.

Visual comfort

Most people spend much of their day either at work, at home or in an educational establishment. The quality of the light in their surroundings has considerable implications on their safety, health, state of mind and even their efficiency.

The most important points to remember about natural lighting are as follows:

  • Position work areas close to windows
  • Facilitate visibility out of the building
  • Avoid direct sunlight in work areas to minimize the associated problems associated with glare
  • Distribute light evenly, avoiding strong areas of contrasts in the field of vision, which can result in problems associated with glare