Experiencing a daylit space

To embed the diversity and variability of human needs as foundational elements of daylighting design and put human occupants back at the core of the building question, we need to reach out to fundamental discoveries from neuroscience, biology and other fields, which will bring new insights and a deeper understanding of how we interact with our environment. The multiplicity and variability of our needs regarding (day)light exposure have been a topic of investigation for years now in photobiology and psychophysics, though have not yet penetrated the design realm as dynamic models of human response. Humans need to be in an environment conducive to health and have physiological light exposure needs, whose time- and spectrum-dependent non-visual effects we only start to understand. On the other hand, users of a space often need to perform tasks for which comfortable visual conditions are needed, to which we respond with head and gaze dynamics that psychophysics can help us better recognize. Finally, any attentive witness to a space seeks to enjoy its play of light and dark. Perception of daylight is the primary interpreter of the materiality and dynamism of any architectural space. As a result, while daylight as a subjectively perceived visual effect is actually very hard to use as a design factor, it is often what drives decisions. It is time to bring these exciting new research perspectives back into the design realm in a way it can interactively, dynamically and effectively fuel the creative design process: we have access to the essential ingredients of human-responsive design, now we need to cook.

Presented at:
6th VELUX Daylight Symposium, London, September 2-3, 2015
Invited presentation

 Record created 2015-08-21, last modified 2018-03-17

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