Have you ever been walking through a dimly lit hallway while seeing a light at the end peeking from around the corner of one of its side walls? It is likely that this light evoked your curiosity, guiding you toward it to see where it was coming from and where it might lead. This type of light that seems to “peek” at you is really a guiding light that invites you along an architectural journey. This is what I call a narrative of light – when light is strategically designed into an environment to enhance the dynamic and transcendent qualities of the space. What results is a journey of light told through poetic narrative, and this is the concept that my painting captures, entitled Turning the Corner (showcased in the video micro-lecture above).
At a deeper level, the painting also artistically captures the notion of turning a corner of innovation. This poses new questions for architectural designers: How can light be designed into an environment to innovate occupant experience in ways that help people by uplifting their quality of life? How can light as a narrative journey help to tell as story through the architecture – to give a more profound meaning to its spirit of place. And how can light, when artistically and poetically designed, help to create new types of personalized or metaphorical beauty not found elsewhere? This Turning the Corner painting serves to beneficially disrupt how architectural environments typically use light today, to help designers think more strategically and poetically about what the light is “saying” to occupants that experience a space.
Such discussions of light make one consider the relationship between the physical materiality of architecture and the rays of illumination that light that materiality. This calls for designers to think beyond simply lighting the architecture forms that make a building, to instead lighting the journey that the forms create. The distinction here may be subtle, but it is important. To get to this level of thinking as you design, you may ask yourself: Am I integrating light to make the stone on the walls more visible? Or am I integrating light to make the space between the stone walls more poetic, dynamic, and inviting? There is no right or wrong answer to the above questions. However, as an architectural designer, one must consciously make such design decisions with thinking that extends “beyond the box”. Architectural light is not only about creating poetic form, it is also about illuminating the space between those forms to create journeys that guide building occupants to levels of experience.
Title: Turning the Corner
Medium: Acrylic on 300 gsm paper
Size: 30” x 22” portrait
This 31 minute masterclass will forever change how you think about environments.
I now invite you to share your insights and a-ha moments in the comments below. How has this article helped you to see more deeply into architectural design? What did you learn that will make you an even better architect? And how will you apply what you discovered to your own work?
I look forward to learning more about you and your work!