Photos: Anastasia Skipetari, Steffen Nijhuis
Drawings: Jørn Utzon, Peter Zumthor, Alberto Campo Baeza

05. Feb 2012

Drawing in architectural lighting design

Drawing is an important tool for lighting designers. Not only as a means of visual communication but also to aid visual thinking. As a process and product, drawing is a constituent part of the overall lighting design process, from concept to realisation. The emphasis is usually placed on drawing as a presentation medium, a means to communicate ideas, either elaborating on technical aspects of the design or revealing the envisaged visual impression.

This article will address other less visible roles: the drawing as a means for analysis and exploration in architectural lighting design. Daylight has always been a source of inspiration for the development of architectural design, providing character and meaning to space and vice versa. Through construction and materials architecture provides input for lighting design solutions. For example, consideration of the inherent light qualities of a piece of architecture results in the placement of the building in relation to the horizon, and determines the architect’s decision to design an open or closed architectural structure. The way that light relates to different activities influences orientation and architectural composition, while the character of the space required results in the mode of construction, choice of materials, and colours. In this process of design, drawing is an essential tool, in addition to other media offered by modern-day technology. Fish and Scrivener (1990) explain that in the early stages the designer may wish to maintain many visual options, but soft-ware’s incapability to represent implicitly may force detailed decisions to be made prematurely, which can be harmful to invention. This creates the imperative need to study the “invisible mental processes that result in the visible activity of sketching” (Fish and Scrivener, 1990).Research has been done in different design domains, revealing a renewed interest in the value and instrumental role of drawing. To what extent is drawing an appropriate tool for lighting designers? […]

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The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 80/81.

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