Daylight in Buildings



Sonja Schmid, Gabriel Ziemer, Josepha Fliedner


Jan Kampshoff


Technische Universität Berlin




Project Description

Socrates: Now then, I proceeded to say, go on to compare our natural condition, so far as education and ignorance are concerned to a state of things like the following. Imagine a number of men living in an underground cavernous chamber, with an entrance open to the light extending along the entire length of the cavern […] And imagine a bright fire burning some way off, above and behind them […] Hence, I suppose, habit will be necessary to enable him to perceive objects in that upper world. At first he will be most successful in distinguishing shadows; then he will discern the reflection of men and other things in water, and afterwards the realities; and after this he will raise his eyes to encounter the light of the moon and stars, finding it less difficult to study the heavenly bodies and the heaven itself by night than the sun’s light by day […] Last of all I imagine, he will be able to observe and contemplate the nature of the sun, not as it appears in water or on alien ground, but as it is in itself in its own territory. [Plato, Republica, transl. by John Llewelyn Davies, Wordworths Editions Limited, 1997, Hertfordshire, p. 225 ff] Narrator: Living underground. Architecture with a roof as its only facade. Light shafts as its only link to the world above. Speaker 1: Now then, I proceeded to ask, why do we always build above the ground and not beneath the terrestrial surface? Speaker 2: Living under the earth? A strange imagination… Always dark, cold, narrow, no sunlight at all… How so? Speaker 1: Picture yourself this scenario: Grab a shovel, dig a hole, take some pieces of wood, stick them together to a rectangle. Repeat this step over and over. Put the constructions together and place it on top of the hole. Close the rectangles with glass plates. Except of one. Leave it open, it will be the entrance. Speaker 2: Why will one do so? Speaker 1: You amuse me with your questioning. With this roof constructions you’ll enabling unrestricted sunlight to flood every corner at every time of the day. The feeling of being inside will be vanished. Speaker 2: So there won’t be any waste of light, will it? Speaker 1: Right, a hundred percentage use of daylight. Humans will start to live with the diurnal rhythm given by nature. Getting up with sunrise, going to bed with sunset. "Sun hours’’ are becoming "Awakening hours’’. In addition, due to the proportions of the shafts the amount of sunlight during midday is decreased, during morning and evening increased. Therefore the temperatures are constantly pleasant. Speaker 2: No sweaty summer days, no freezing winter nights anymore. How marvelous! Speaker 1: Furthermore the given ground plan will be absolutely free. This sort of architectural basic concept enables the user to let his imagination and creation of space run free. They also say it is import to consider living underground for environmental purposes. Mankind has been building beneath the surface for milleniums. But have they considered rethinking the idea of the earth shelter with new technologies? We want to provide a contemporary version of this very old living style. Narrator: Living underground. Take a glance above. It leads you deeper and deeper into the depth of the sky, far away from spacial restrictions.