Daylight Investigations

Luna Solace


Ieva Davulyte, Christopher Clarkson, Iman Ramshini, Katrine Natorp, Ieva Davulyte


Khoi Tran


Technische Universiteit Delft



Luna Solace

Project Description

Luna Solace aims to provide that which is most lacking in the lives of Metropolitans who have become detached from the meanings of their lives. It gains its name from the Roman personifications of the moon (Luna) and her brother, the sun (Sol). Our proposal takes a stance against the speed, chaos, and distraction of the metropolis, making use of light as a tool to connect us to the feeling of being part of nature, something much larger than ourselves. For all technological advancement, we as a society have regressed spiritually, losing touch with the divine. With Luna Solace we provide a space in which one might find respite from the metropolitan hubbub of Rotterdam City, in the Netherlands, by engaging with the environment in a more real, primal sense. Rotterdam is located in the Randstad, a region defined not only by its immense population density but also by its light pollution, which is amongst the worst in the world. As a result, the natural cycles are essentially removed here as the sky shifts from blue to orange but the day goes on, and the city doesn’t sleep. We have become completely detached from celestial, circadian, and natural cycles, and Luna Solace aims to reincorporate these into our lives. The Dutch landscape is almost entirely designed, in large due to its historical relationship with water. Although having been crucial for the success of the Netherlands, water is often perceived as a threat which must be controlled. In Luna Solace we redefine this relationship by empowering the tidal cycles, governed by the movements of the sun and moon. In Walhaven, the entrance to Luna Solace is a pier just above low tide height, providing access and exit only during low tide. This allows you to remain in temporary isolation between the tidal cycles, connecting you to the movement of celestial bodies. As you approach the location, walking through one of the most industrial areas of Rotterdam, you will wait on land watching the water slowly reveal the path to your destination. Once the water is low enough you may proceed, walking along the 500-metre path you become surrounded by an expanse of water, realising the inferiority of man in the presence of nature. On the summer solstice, as you walk forwards, the sunrise occurs exactly behind Luna Solace, a rare event. Twelve minutes, and an intimidating pilgrimage later you encounter the entrance to Luna Solace: a portal through a round facade which gives away no secrets. Upon entering Luna Solace, you are confronted with a spiralling staircase wrapping around the interior space leading down below. Organic openings in the interior wall permit light to pour into the staircase, providing you with glimpses to the sky as well as downwards to the bottom of Luna Solace. After your descent, you encounter a subterranean water garden; this pool of reflection mirrors the movement of the sun and moon above. Here, we have pulled the sky down into the Earth, and you are floating between two skies both above and below. During high tide two channels above let minimal amounts of water in, glistening the interior walls. Within the pool of reflection, the user experiences a kind of peace unattainable in the world above, and you are positioned such that the sole point of your attention is the light, be it from the sun or the moon, or from the light pollution of the city and nearby greenhouses. Remaining in Luna Solace between tidal cycles allows you to slow down and contemplate, experiencing the gradual movement of light across the interior facade of the subterranean garden during the day. At night, the oculus above reveals a hidden galaxy, and the introverted character of darkness enables you to connect with yourself and the cosmos better in complete isolation and stillness. By directing the attention to this sky at night we set the stage for a kind of disappointment, that is, a disappointment in society's choice to disregard their position in the universe, going so far as to design their night sky with a toxic orange hue. We hope that one daylight pollution will be better controlled and localised, making the Milky Way visible. As the tide recedes again, the walls matte, and it is time for you to go back and face the world. Ascending the stairs, the position of light has shifted, marking your changed cosmic position. The journey along the hidden path seems longer now as you leave this place of tranquility, but you are now reborn in the sense that you understand something you previously didn’t. With this we hope to have given you the strength to return to the chaos of the city and live in it with a new kind of harmony, knowing your position in the universe.