DAYLIGHT IN EDUCATION by Magali Bodart
Civil engineer, PhD, M.Sc in Architecture and Sustainable Development, postdoctoral researcher and teacher
Université Catholique de Louvain
From years, daylight is one of the key elements of each architecture project. It is known by architects that manipulating the light through design can evoke emotional response through our visual experience of form, space and texture. Moreover, in the framework of global climate change, the good integration of daylight in buildings leads to reduction of energy consumption and is a way to sustainable architecture. However, for most of the architects, daylight stays a theoretical concept as they never really take time to study and to experiment this field. For these reasons, it is essential to teach daylight to architects during their studies. Architect students of the “Université catholique de Louvain”, in Belgium have the opportunity to address the daylighting aspects through a project of “sustainable architecture” during the third year of their studies (bachelor 3rd year).
If precise daylighting evaluation can be done by computer simulation, the professorial team decided to let the student experience the light through work with scale models under artificial skies. Experience indicates that it is essential for architects to personally appreciate the luminous environment of a space and to compare several solutions quantitatively and qualitatively (i.e. the difference between diffuse light and direct light). This intuitive appreciation obtained by scale models and the three-dimensional perception of the light distribution cannot currently be obtained by use of computer simulations. Moreover, the correct use of a daylighting simulation program (like Radiance) is too complex to be taught in that context.
The Architecture Department of the Université Catholique de Louvain (ARCH – UCL) and the Belgian Building Research Institute (BBRI) decided, with the support of the Belgian government, to promote the use of daylighting in buildings, and, therefore, to provide architects, students and building designers with tools that could help them to improve daylighting penetration and distribution in their buildings. Consequently, a daylight laboratory was developed.
Magali Bodart, Civil engineer, PhD, M.Sc in Architecture and Sustainable Development, postdoctoral researcher and teacher at Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. Magali Bodart is involved in several international projects and is co-author of several publications; International Energy Agency, “Solar energy houses: strategies, technologies, examples” and “Passive Low Energy Innovative Architectural Design” (PLEIADE).