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Daylighting In Architecture

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Daylighting in architecture has been a constant adaptation and a very influential aspect of design. Le Corbusier states “Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of masses brought together in light. Our eyes are made to see forms in light: light and shade reveal these forms.” He also states “The history of architecture is the history of the struggle for light.” In the early age of architecture dating back to the Egyptian and classical period, different methods of daylighting were established and these practices were further developed throughout the years. Egyptians would use clerestories at the top of buildings to get light into interior or open plans and have a series of columns to take advantage of shading control. In ancient Greece the strategy of orientation on site was incorporated and would typically have buildings on an east-west axis so the morning sun would illuminate the deity being worshipped. To further the adaptation of daylighting, typically it was minimized or concentrated to bring attention to a certain statue or figure in the ancient Greek times, creating a feeling of holiness or divinity. The Parthenon especially was constructed so that on Athena’s birthday, daylight would enter the cella during the morning so the sun would shine on the statue in the building. Once Romans had advancements in architecture, new innovations were created and skylights and clerestories became larger. Innovations such as the barrel vault and dome allowed
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