The essence of this initiative lies in designing with natural light and nurturing the creative combination of architecture and light. At the heart of this process is experimentation with contemporary dynamic solutions, drawing inspiration from great architectural designs and exploring new projects and themes. It is about recording projects where natural light becomes an architectural “material” and stimulus for experimentation.
The brief for this unprecedented initiative by Velux Italia is very specific. The focus is on studying and enhancing the key relationship between light and architecture - although, in truth, it rotates around light. The approach is scientific, breaking light down into its components as these have precise material and spatial effects. The Velux Daylight Challenge provides an opportunity to explore and design buildings in places where the light almost violently intrudes into the architecture, where it is a radical force to be kept at bay. Velux has plenty of experience and for this initiative, it is brining all its know-how to the table, along with equipment and calculation methods, to help a team of designers as they experiment with new ideas.
The location for all of this is Sicily, where Mediterranean light and its impact can be highlighted, but without being overpowering. The initiative does face many problems, especially capturing and filtering light, as the sun can beat down at these latitudes, caught between the sea and the mountains. Twelve Sicilian architects based on the island have been tasked with identifying solutions and designs for both extreme and ordinary settings, depending on the general project requirements (new buildings, regeneration, buildings in urban settings, and in beautiful landscapes, or changes in function). The ultimate goal is to explore new solutions, seeking out both actual potential designs and general guidelines.
This all fits into a programme for research and implementation that is divided into various steps, so theoretical knowledge can keep pace with practice and ensure science and technology are woven into project design. The team of architects will look at “architecture and light” by examining important architectural constructions - both historical and contemporaries buildings - that “build with light”, seeking a crystallised statement about materials and architecture. Both top and side lighting will be delved into, placing special emphasis on vertical and horizontal openings to match wall configuration.