Seeing and perceiving daylight


Nanet Mathiasen
Louise Grønlund
Kathrine Næss

Students from GK3, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO):
Cora Linn Hopp Auganes, Herman Bjerke, Marie Haugland Raknes, Emanuel Victor Kjellberg,
Amalie Kolstad Christophersen, Jenny Farmen Holt, Jeppe Bervell Johnsen, Sanna Skeide.

AUG 2022

Daylight & Architecture


Daylight silently enters the spaces that surround us. Without further attention the daylight is distributed throughout a space and creates our everyday daylit environment. To see this light, and to be aware of the impact this everyday phenomenon has on us, often takes a specific awareness. Even though most architects are aware of the fact that architecture and daylight are inseparable, the actual impact of light on the experience of a daylit space stand out more vaguely.

Therefore, students at Oslo School of Architecture have been given the assignment to observe and document daylight within a space. And thereby capture the multifaceted way that daylight interact with surface materials, form, and various features of the space. The objective has been to make the students aware of the effect of daylight in an architectural space. Also, to give the students the time to observe these effects and to explore how differently a space can be perceived even with minor variations in daylight.

The assignment is divided into two parts. Firstly, to objectively register and photograph the window of the space and the light from the window
on the wall perpendicular to the window façade wall. Secondly to conduct a systematic photographic registration of daylight over time interacting with a specific part of the space.

The window and the light on the wall

As daylight surrounds us throughout the day, we tend not to notice its characteristics and effects – it is often simply overlooked. To enhance the focus on daylight, to actually see the light we must introduce a methodology that establishes an awareness on this specific phenomenon. The simple method is to spend time dedicated to one task: seeing and perceiving daylight in a delimited area.
We habitually perceive light without further consideration but by offering time we create a basic condition for a conscious focus on perceiving light in a space and creates the possibility for a patient and attentive registration of it.

To notice the nearly unnoticeable, the small details in intensities, colour changes and reflections from the surroundings is achieved through spending time seeing. Noticing the small variations that we quickly adapt to become enormously effects when they are the object of a systematic observation. Combining the same corner of a room over time extracts characteristic variations in light. Even small variations become the essence of the space, but it also illustrates the multifaceted play of daylight effects that enhances the qualities of a space. Qualities that can create atmosphere, highlight elements, or remind you of how powerful and beautiful our surroundings are. Contemplate and see things that are here but you were not aware of, but comes alive through the focus on seeing. Seeing these changes in daylight connects you to the space – make you present at a specific time of day and season.

Contemplation - over time

The series of photographs illustrate this method of seeing and perceiving daylight. The photographs are a selection of works by the students from the workshop, Everyday poetics of daylight.

The project, Everyday poetics of daylight is a result of a research-based workshop, developed by Louise Grønlund at The Royal Danish Academy – Architecture, Design, Conservation. The workshop took place in the middle of august 2022, with 60 students from GK3 at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO).  Together with the teaching team from AHO and Nanet Mathiasen from BUILD, Aalborg University the workshop was completed.

Students from GK3, AHO
Louise Grønlund, assistant professor, PhD, architect MAA, Head of research cluster for Light in Architecture and Design
Nanet Mathiasen, senior advisor, PhD, architect maa, BUILD, Aalborg University
Kathrine Næss, associate professor, architect MNAL, Technology & Practice, Institute of architecture, AHO
Teaching team at GK3

Royal Danish Academy – Architecture, Design, Conservation
BUILD, Aalborg University
The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO

Daylight and Architecture, VELUX Group