Daylight Investigations

Light of Sea, Light of Future


Shixiao Qi, Yan Gao


Weihua Jiang


China Academy of Art


China - Mainland

Light of Sea, Light of Future

Project Description

Light of Sea, Light of Future "The world is so big, I want to go out of the mountain and see the sea." In many areas of China, there is a group of villages: they are surrounded by mountains and the scenery is charming; but they are isolated from the outside world, as if the Peach Garden in Chinese legend. The youth in the village usually go out to work, leaving the children and the elderly in the mountains. For these left-behind children, they are full of confusion and suspicion about the future. The long-term separation from their parents makes them suffer from psychological problems such as inferiority and loneliness. Obviously, they need spiritual support. In our survey, we found that many of their parents would choose to work in coastal cities (coastal cities are usually more economically developed); the sea has become their sustenance for future hope. In the investigation of Pingtian Village, Lishui City, China, a little child told us expectantly that when he grew up, he wanted to go to the beach and make sure whether the sea is as beautiful as that depicted by his parents from the phone and broadcasted on TV. Based on our experiments on the improvement rammed earth materials and its connections with light, we eager to bring hope to the children by constructing a ‘sea light’ public seat. The sea has a variety of light-emitting methods: under the sunlight, The shimmering light reflected from the sea; on the Black Stone Sea in northeastern China, the accumulated algae emit blue light in the darkness; and on the more distant sea, the krill group will also produce a little blue light-like fireflies swimming in the sea; and in the image of the children in the mountains, the sea is the place they want to reach when they grow up. The sea light is the light of their hope for future. In our program, we adopted a curved shape wall, and the improved rammed earth (add appropriate amount of florescent powder and other formulas) can achieve the effect similar to the shiny sea. The public seat is arranged in the open space in the middle of the village, which will be a good place for children to play with each other at night. Why Rammed Earth? First, unlike buildings with concrete walls and other materials, rammed earth is made of soil, sand and stones which are mixed in proportion, and then tamped layer by layer. In this way, we can achieve the desired effect by changing the material of each layer. Second, the use of rammed earth as a building material in the mountainous areas is very common. As people can get the material from the site easily. Also, the rammed earth construction can be completed without difficult techniques and modern machines. The universality of rammed earth materials makes it meaningful to explore the relationship between rammed earth materials and its possible connections with light. We also can’t ignore that the thickness of rammed earth wall. Arranging large windows and door openings is inappropriate to this material, which means the space people can get from rammed earth constructions are normally very dim. Under this circumstance, we tried to find a practical method to improve the situation. Our Experiment With an experimental plan, using 10*10*10 (cm) rammed earth blocks as an unit, we tried to test the effectiveness of various materials added to the rammed earth blocks. The materials we tried include: quartz particles, pearl powder, reflective powder and phosphor powder. There are two main ways to generate light: fluorescence and reflected light. Fluorescence powder can help the rammed earth wall to get the effect of storing sunlight during the day and emitting fluorescence at night; the addition of reflective powder and quartz particles can make the rammed earth wall have a certain reflective effect. For quartz particles of different particle sizes, the rammed earth block with 30 mesh quartz particles has the best light reflection effect without great influence to the compact of rammed earth’s surface. Pearl powder can make the rammed earth shiny and waterproof. We have to emphasized that these materials can be directly mixed into the rammed earth formula during construction, and the proper ratio will not affect the mechanical properties of rammed earth.