Velux
Global Winners Announced!

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.

James Carpenter - Light in the Public Realm

“There is a reciprocal responsibility to the public realm for buildings. A building is occupying a public resource – daylight. If you privatize that public resource, there needs to be a responsibility to give light back to the public.”

In his talk at the 7th VELUX Daylight Symposium, James Carpenter explores the intersection of art, engineering and architecture with the use of materials that activate and transform both private and public spaces with observable qualities of light that define a collective experience of place.

Carpenter discusses how studying the way buildings respond to light is essential to fulfill the responsibility buildings have to share daylight and create populated spaces.

“When we think about light, we always just think about the visual portion of it. But in reality, light is a much broader concept that is informing us in ways we don’t fully understand,” says the head of cross-disciplinary design firm James Carpenter Design Associates.

“Light is bringing a wealth of information to your eye. And as your eye is interpreting that information, the image you are deciphering is wrapping the entire room. This is what gives light a cinematic quality.” Considered a foremost authority on glass and daylighting, Carpenter has been recognized with numerous national and international awards, including an Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Looking at their work in both civic and commercial contexts, Carpenter addresses the increased need for innovative strategies that heighten our collective awareness of light and nature. “It is about finding a way to engage people with an activation of light and space.”

The VELUX Daylight Symposium is biennial conference held to address, debate and present research, experiences and viewpoints from research institutions and architectural practice – covering a range of aspects related to the use of daylight, while considering people, politics, economy and scale.

The theme for the 7th Symposium held in Berlin in 2017 was “Healthy & Climate-Friendly Architecture – from knowledge to practice”. It focused specifically on the use of daylight – firstly creating buildings that promote human health and wellbeing, and secondly minimizing the negative impact of man-made structures and activities on climate change.

See more talks from the 7th VELUX Daylight Symposium on the Daylight Site

By Mariann Eliassen