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The relationship between sunlight and architecture

Tongkuai Ni

In discussing sunlight, it should first be clear that there is a subtle relative relationship between light and shadow, two particular states formed by the combined action of the sun and objects:

1.Light into shadow: Light enters a dark space, breaking the original dullness, which will make space visually prominent, emotionally still and sacred.

2.Shadow into light: Light passes through the three-dimensional components, laying down interlocking shadows., which will make space visually rhythmic, emotionally lively and secular.

Based on these two relationships, spaces of different nature find the most appropriate relationship to the specific requirements of their own nature. It is through architecture itself that light and shadow are linked, and through the extrapolation of the different relationships between light and shadow that spaces of different sensibilities and moods can in turn be shaped. Generally speaking, outdoor spaces such as squares and courtyards, due to their open nature, are often shaped by the way of “shadow into light”, creating a rich and rhythmic atmosphere of light and shadow through architectural vignettes or unique elements while indoor contemplative spaces such as Buddhist churches and prayer rooms, due to their sacred and self-conscious emotional properties, are often shaped by the way of “Light into shadow”, which will use clerestory windows, skylights or small openings to squeeze light into special directional forms such as beams or dots to give light a unique sense of sacredness and self-reflection.

However, whether it is “shadow into light” or “Light into shadow”, ultimately the connection between light and shadow can give architecture a human emotion and a sense of thought. Especially in spaces such as religious spaces, which need to evoke strong emotions hidden deep inside, the question of how the light enters the shadow becomes a major challenge. Here I have listed several modes of “Light into shadow”:
1.Clerestory window(direct light)
2.Skylight(direct light)
3.Opal glass(diffused light)
4.Roof pool(diffused light)

This design will investigate different states of light and shadow in relation to each other to create different spatial effects and emotions. As a "light seeker", I hope to follow the sunlight to find the true nature of architecture and to appreciate the profound meaning of light and shadow in architecture.

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