The sun never knew how great it is until it struck the side of a building, a Daylight talk by Architect Dean Hawkes

Dean Hawkes

27 Apr 2022

16:00 - 17:15


The Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge presents a talk by the renowned architectural professor, Dean Hawkes.

The talk is the third the 2022 series of ‘Daylight Talks’, organized by the VELUX Group. The talks explore the significance of natural light in architecture and will present prominent architects and educators working consciously and qualitatively with daylight in their projects and educational programmes.

The lecture is 45 minutes and it will be followed by an open 30 minutes of Q&A session. The lecture was transmitted live from the University of Cambridge.

The ‘Daylight Talks’ are organised by the VELUX Group in collaboration with individual schools of architecture and they are endorsed by the International Union of Architects (UIA) and the European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE).

About Dean Hawkes
Dean Hawkes is emeritus professor of architectural design at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University and an emeritus fellow of Darwin College, University of Cambridge.  He taught and researched at Cambridge from 1965 to 1995 and was appointed professor of architectural design at Cardiff from 1995 to 2002.  He was a founder member of the Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies at Cambridge and was its Director from 1979 to 1987.

His research is in the field of environmental design in architecture.  His books include, The Environmental Tradition (1996), The Selective Environment (2002), The Environmental Imagination (2008, 2nd edition 2019) and Architecture and Climate (2012) and The Architect and the Academy (2021).  His buildings, in partnership with Stephen Greenberg, have received four RIBA Architecture Awards.  In 2010 he was given the RIBA Annie Spink Award in recognition of his distinguished contribution to architectural education.

‘The sun never knew how great it is until it struck the side of a building’

I only wish that the first really worthwhile discovery of science would be that it recognised that the unmeasurable is what they’re really fighting to understand, and that the measurable is only the servant of the unmeasurable, that everything it makes must be fundamentally unmeasurable.’
– Louis Kahn

Light in architecture is a matter of both art and science.  The key question is how the measurable of building science may be translated into the unmeasurable of the art of architecture.  This lecture, which draws upon over 50 years of teaching, research and practice, explores this question through the illustration of a sequence of designs for houses, built in England in the late 20th century, in which daylight – both art and science -was fundamental to their conception.

About the University of Cambridge
Regularly lauded as one of the leading architecture schools in the world, the department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge promotes a comprehensive approach to the study of the built environment. The degree programmes mix design with academic rigor, placing an emphasis both on the technical aspects but also the necessity of students to acquire a deep understanding of the theoretical, historical and cultural context of architecture.

Read more about the University of Cambridge

About Koen Steemers
Koen Steemers is Professor of Sustainable Design at the University of Cambridge and Director of the architectural practice CH+W Design. An architect and environmental design specialist, Koen was recently listed as one of the “top 50 most influential people in UK sustainability” by Building Design.

Read more: Healthy Homes: Designing with light and air for sustainability