Daylight in Buildings

Urbanising Elements


Buck Middeldorp


Guus Van Riet


Design Academy Eindhoven



Urbanising Elements

Project Description

Light is one of the fundamental element in human life. Things like daylight often are taken for granted. For this reason I want to thank the ‘International VELUX Award’ for inviting students to take a different approach and provide a new insight on what is possible in the realms of improving the quality of living spaces. For this project I found my inspiration in a quite unusual way if you think in the subject of daylight. Due to the Covid-19 situation I felt more comfortable to move out of the city of Utrecht, and went to the Dutch countryside where my parents live and where I was raised. I feel a deep connection with this area but I always took this for granted. The switch due to the virus made me think about what is creating this connection. The moment of realisation came when I was reading a book in the shadow of a tree. I suddenly noticed the swishing sound of the leaves above me and the beautiful dynamic play of light and shadow the tree creates in collaboration with the wind. In that moment I felt a sense of place that I never had before. The connection with the surrounding area was so strong that I took this moment as the main inspiration for my project. The future of living on this planet holds a big increase in urbanisation. By 2030 already 60 percent of the people are living in a city and by 2060 this number is raised to almost 90 percent. Living in a city is exciting, easy, necessary for work/school, cheap, lively and sometimes beneficial to your creative process. A thing a city lacks is the sense of place I felt sitting under that tree on the countryside. The only sense of place you have in a city is the area, neighbourhood, district or street you find yourself in. This for me feels really artificial because the element like the sun, the wind and the rain don’t play a part in this feeling. I now experienced both sides of the spectrum and I think this competition gave me the possibility of combining the two worlds. The moment under the tree is still relevant at this moment because I found a tree the perfect communicator of the elements a person can experience. A tree is a the perfect translator in the conversation between the wind and the sun by the way the branches and leaves mimic the direction and the intensity of the wind. A tree is almost capable of making the wind visible. Another quality of a tree is the sound they create, whether it’s the sound of swishing leaves or rain that falls from leave to leave further down, trees are known for making relaxing and calm sounds. In my design I focussed on the qualities a tree has and the importance of a human being feeling connected to the elements even if it finds itself living in a city. I created a blank space of 12x4x3,80 meter that is suited for a studio apartment. The key part of my work is 15,2 square meter facade of the studio space. In the top part of the facade I created an installation that will give the resident of the studio the same experience I got from being connected to my surroundings. My design for the installation consists of 60 small parts that are attached to a grail by rubber tubes varieing in size and thickness. The parts are made of lightweight aluminium plates of 12x12 centimeter. On top of the aluminium plates I transformed the leaves of a tree into plates of PMMA plastic. The size and the design of the plates will make sure my installation responds to wind blowing past, through and at the studio space. The plates will touch each other to create the sound a tree is famous for. The aluminium blocks will move by the plastic plates grabbing the wind, this will create a abstracted ‘play of light’ like only a tree can produce. In the middle of the appartement you now get a mosaic created by the elements a human is exposed to. In this design my aim is to let the elements that are key for have a sense of place urbanise together with us as humans. To visualise the project I want to show you my first sketches, my plans for the installation and I made a 1:20 model to experiment with the light and what shadow the installation creates.