Velux
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The International VELUX Award is a biennial competition for students of architecture. We challenge students from all over the world to work with daylight as an ever relevant source of light, life and joy. More than 600 student teams have submitted their daylight project to the International VELUX Award, and the jury has elected nine regional winners. See all winning projects here.

Bringing the past to the future - Interview with Jury Member Saša Begović

Wood and acoustic panels, suggest that the hall is a large living room for athletes. Steel girders of 55 meters span and different heights enable the natural light illumination of the sports hall.

“Learn about your history, learn about your craft and learn about what is happening around you” says Saša Begović, founding partner and premier architect of 3LHD Architects, urging students to search their own heritage for inspiration for their International VELUX Award projects.

“Do not just look at what is happening in technology, but also what is happening in art, in culture and in design. Inspiration can be found in both the past and the present.”

Along with three other internationally renowned architects, Begović will be part of the jury for this year’s award and look for innovative uses of daylighting design.

"Satisfy yourself"

In June 2018, Begović and the rest of the jury will be meeting in Copenhagen to evaluate the student projects and select the regional winners of the International VELUX Award. And he is hoping to be surprised.

“I think the assignment is so open that it encourages a lot of beautiful research. If you look at the entries from previous years, there are so many great projects,” he says. He notes that if students have faith in their own project, it will shine through.

Begovic's work on the Zamet Centre: "Selected interior materials - wood and acoustic panels, suggest that the hall is a large living room for athletes. Steel girders of 55 meters span and different heights enable the natural light illumination of the sports hall."

“I don’t expect revolutionary ideas. Hard work and new perspectives, that is all I want. You need to satisfy yourself. If you are not convinced about your own idea, it is not going to be a good project.”

According to Begović, future architects should not forget about what has come before - by getting too preoccupied with the newest technology - but finding a way of putting knowledge from the past together with the newest.

“[The light of tomorrow] represents architecture that looks to the future, but still learns from history and tell us something about the classical principles.”

Light for all seasons

Saša Begović got his start as an architect after graduating from the Faculty of Architecture, University in Zagreb in 1994. The same year, he founded 3LHD Architects and since then, the office has received several awards for his work, including the A+Award in the Architecture + Landscape, the European Hotel Design Award for best new built hotel in Europe, and the World Architecture Festival award in Barcelona for 3LHD’s project Sports Hall Bale. He is also a three-time winner of the IOC/IAKS international award, one of the most important international architecture prizes for sports, leisure and recreational facilities.

In addition to leading several of his firm’s award winning projects, Begović has spent many years teaching architecture students all over the world. In his 17 years as an educator, he has taught at Cornell University (US), ETH Zurich (CH), Northeastern University in Boston (US), and the Technical Universities in Vienna (A) and Munich (DE), to name a few.

In his own work, he places emphasis on the integration and interaction of architecture, urban planning, landscape, design and art. Being based in Croatia, he highlights how the unique geographical position affects the role daylight plays in his own projects.

“We work with every kind of light - all the seasons. We have to consider that daylight should be allowed to enter from all positions,” Begović explains and adds that this also poses some challenges.

“We always try to use daylight in a way that we can control it. We want to let in as much as possible, but we are on a very specific geographical point where too much light is not good. The main challenge then becomes letting the daylight in, but in a controlled manner.”

Light, energy and health

Controlling the light is also one of the challenges he predicts for the future.

“Within the cities there are many people and deep buildings. Making sure we are using daylight in the best way so it reaches the greatest amount of people, will be a challenging.”

The Floating Pavilion was planned to present arts and architecture of Croatia at the Venice Biennale. It was designed by a group of 14 leading Croatian architects.

Despite this, he takes optimistic approach to the days to come.

“The future is bright. We will always need the benefits that daylight brings. It is a basic human necessity. The sun is a source of energy. If you treat it well, it can also be a great source of beauty and health. We will never lose the need for daylight.”

By Mariann Eliassen