01. Aug 2013

No. 89 – Daylight in sacred buildings

Jul/Aug 2013

Between pragmatic appreciation and never ending mystery: The renovation and expansion of the San Floriano Church in Gavassa/I
Text: Joachim Ritter
There is probably no other term that occurs more often in religious imagery to describe the divine than the word “light”. The divine is spirit, spirit in the form of light – immaterial and yet able to penetrate material things. The intention should not be to create some kind of scene for specific players to enact their ceremonies, but rather to create a space in which light can be experienced as the absolute metaphor.

Texture and perception: The Holy Redeemer Church in La Laguna/E
Text: Sonja Kiekens, Joachim Ritter
From an historical perspective, a sacred building is a place of divine revelations. It is not about the space itself. Its task is to provide the framework for the activities and experiences the place of worship offers. What should the envelope of a structure look like that is simultaneously required to dissolve boundaries and allow worshippers to expand their conscious-ness? Light, which by its very nature is not material, plays a significant role in the perceptual concept. It is the key to perception.

Home: The Islamic cemetery in Altach/A
Text: Sonja Kiekens
When a place as sensitive as a cemetery is nominated for the Aga Khan Award of Architecture the design has to be truly convincing: a symbiosis of calm, peace, and time to contemplate and remember, but also a retreat for mourners to gather and share their grief. It is the power of light that links all these aspects and provides a framework for all related activities, giving individuals the opportunity to mourn their loved ones and overcome their loss in their own personal way.

In-depth inspiration: Toledo Metro station and Piazza Diaz in Naples/I
Text: Oscar Tusquets Blanca, Joachim Ritter
Inspiration is a strange phenomenon, a miracle, a penny-has-dropped sensation. It can lead to a surge of creativity, a raison d’être or, in the case of Oscar Tusquets Blanca when viewing the beginnings of the engineering work in preparation for the Toledo underground station, a razón de ser.

Lighthouse for the Dutchman: Visualizing the design idea and ensuring reality does not differ from the expectations of the client 
Text: Bhujon Kang and Andre Bighorse
In 2012, when the design team from Urban Playground was commissioned by a Korean Presbyterian Church in Phoenix, AZ to design a small size chapel in suburban Phoenix, they leapt at the chance. The developed design concept links the structure to the history of the location, addresses the natural environmental conditions and has used advanced and time-tested planning tools to develop the notion of spiritual sanctuary to the ultimate. Bhujon Kang and Andre Bighorse describe the architects’ approach and how they visualized the design idea to present the client with as real a concept as possible.

Dossier: The Dark Art
Statements from Kit Cuttle, Edward Bartholomew, Koert Vermeulen, Paulina Villalobos, Eduardo Gonçalves
During the last few years, there have been a number of independent voices within the lighting design profession who have encouraged the use of darkness as a positive facet of lighting design. These independent voices attempt to redefine our understanding of light and darkness, presenting new lighting design philosophies and innovative technical methods that are inclusive of light, darkness and shadow.

A framework of darkness: Lighting master plan for the City of Rennes/F
Text: Roger Narboni
The town of Rennes in France opted for a combination of designed lighting and darkness: a modern approach for a lighting master plan.

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