Architectural lighting design focuses on three fundamental aspects of the illumination of buildings or spaces. The first is, of course, the aesthetic appeal of a building, an aspect particularly important in the illumination of retail, hospitality or comercial environments. Secondly, the ergonomic aspect: the measure of how much of a function the lighting plays. Thirdly is the energy efficiency issue to assure that light is not wasted by over-illumination, either by illuminating vacant spaces unnecessarily or by providing more light than needed for the aesthetics or the task.
Each of these three aspects is looked at in extraordinarily minute detail when the lighting designer is at work. In aesthetic appeal, the lighting designer attempts to raise the general attractiveness of the design, measure whether it should be subtly blended into the background or whether it should stand out, and assess what kind of emotions the lighting should evoke. The functional aspects of the project can encompass the need for the project to be visible (by night mostly, but also by day), the impact of daylight on the project and safety issues (glare, color confusion etc.)
Architectural lighting design, much like architecture itself, qualifies as being neither an art nor a science, rather a mixture of both. While creative spirit is demanded of a designer, a qualified professional architectural lighting designer will generally have a good understanding of the properties of light from a scientific standpoint and of the functioning of a light fitting (known as a “luminaire” in field terminology).
Painting with Light
Some people paint canvas with inks, oil or acrylics. We paint buildings, bridges and monuments with light. In the daytime, the Sun indiscriminately paints all surfaces equally. Architects utilize shape, form, texture and different reflective materials to alter how sunlight is observed.
Night lighting allows greater accents of the most dynamic architectural designs and elimination of the lesser designs though darkness. We have the ability to use light in contrast, color, brightness and position highlight the design.
We position the lighted structure within the framework of its neighborhood. It may desirable to blend in or it may be more advantageous to standout. Lighting will make a big difference on how you structure will be perceived by the community.
- An unlit building doesn’t exist at night…..
- An unlit building looks like you don’t care…..
- A lit building says “I am Proud”
- A lit building takes a strong place in the city skyline
- A lit building can be more beautiful at night with controlled lighting
- Colored lighting gives you different appearances
- Night lighting costs less than ½% of the total building cost
- A lit building gets noticed, especially if the lighting job is good.