Roof window and blind manufacturer, Velux Italia has developed a series of seminars and workshops to investigate the intriguing relationship between natural light and architecture, a subject of special interest for architects working in Sicily. The special characteristics of the light in Sicily make this a fertile area for investigation and experimentation. The approach is analytical and scientific. The impact and penetrating force of natural light is considered under a range of conditions. Models are developed that then become the matrix for architectural decisions. Summary and synthesis put into words the shapes and figures that spring from intuitive ideas. Light is examined in terms of graphic schemes, architecture and urban communities. It is scrutinised using photography and the moving image. The course also examines how previous architects in Sicily have conceived and manipulated light in their architectures, and how today’s practitioners can make use of the potential offered by natural light and the subsequent refinements it can lead to.
Seminars begin by making the link between the practical, analytical approach to a physical phenomenon and the creative achievements that light, and the harnessing of light have brought about. A series of graphic examples are given. Architects working in Sicily are encouraged to take an in-depth look at the very special role of light in their environment and the extent to which it shapes their work.
The workshops deal with specific themes. Starting from real-life situations, architectural projects where natural light is a key feature are examined in depth. An exhibition pavilion can, for example, be the vehicle for an alternative paradigm in the use of natural light; light sources can be fragmented to eliminate glare in a sports hall; light can be used to enhance the effect of an exhibition, an internal staircase or an apartment; natural light can completely change the renovation of residential units in a dense urban fabric; communal and private spaces can be transformed by light; zenithal light sources can turn small spaces into comfortable living quarters; whole buildings can be upgraded by introducing a new quality of light; a mundane interior can be radically transformed by ‘sculpturing’ light; schools and classrooms can be improved with the innovative use of natural light.