Daylight in Buildings

Bright Darkness


Emmanuel Durand


Helena Coch Roura,

Carlos Alonso Montolio


Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya



Bright Darkness

Project Description

SUMMER 2059. Barcelona, Spain. At the dawn of a new decade, the Western urban World seems to be on the verge of collapse, leaving a troubling and disturbing atmosphere for the prosperity of human civilization. While the sun is still rising, the earth's surface situation continues to worsen, bringing its inhabitants to their knees, affected by this severe disease that strikes all those who catch it. Today's daily life is in a state of intense imbalance, cities are collapsing one by one in a climate of panic and globalized anguish, leaving each individual at its mercy in this chaotic macrocosm. The human being inevitably enters a destructive cog that he cannot cope with. Thus, the need to build an innovative, sustainable and regenerative model of life for the survival and well-being of its inhabitants becomes imperative. It is at this point that an enlightening solution comes to mind: the development of an underground world, acting as a city of refuge, flexible to any surrounding health or societal situation that is detrimental to the human species. This underground city reveals the taming of a completely dark spatial volume, requiring the contribution of a natural light source to flood its living spaces in order to guarantee the perpetuation of the individuals who inhabit it. Like a sea of fish without water, human existence could not live in the long term without the physical presence of solar illumination surrounding it on a daily basis. Therefore, we reflect on the inevitable projection of a general system of natural illumination composed by a set of geometric volumes whose function is to bring light to the different underground places. Moreover, the formal variability of these components allows the design of differentiated lighting effects in relation to public or private scale uses, and would meet the spatial requirements established by each of them. This is how the project is conceived, taking into consideration the urban pre-existence of Barcelona’s city, an urban territory that I have been seeing, with my frantic eyes, go into decline for several months now. This project aims to re-configure the interior of the urban islets of the famous Eixample district known as "Manzanas", seeing the mouths of these illumination patios springing from the surface of these isolated spaces, central to the perimetral edification that limits them. This succession of elements is then scattered and paced in the course of the existing urban system, generators of the modern city buried under our feet. Faced with the abyss we find ourselves in, let us reach a new World: let us bring light into the darkness.