The International VELUX Award is a competition for students of architecture that runs every second year. We challenge students from all over the world to work with daylight as an ever relevant source of light, life and joy. The award is one of the most important global student competitions of its kind.

Submission is closed. The regional winners will be announced in August.

A simple introduction to daylight simulations in buildings The use of simulation tools to evaluate building design performance has gained a lot of popularity in the past decades and is today a common asset in the toolbox of many architectural practices. This article introduces some of the basic notions used to perform daylight simulations in 3D models. By Nicolas Roy, VELUX Group 27 May 2020
Juri Troy: Open your mind to find new solutions with daylight The jury of the International VELUX Award is getting ready to review the daylight projects students will submit by the 15th of June. Juri Troy, architect and former stonemason, shares his own approach to new architectural tasks and talks about the importance of daylight and sustainability. By Jadrana Ćurković 20 May 2020
Nóra Demeter: I hope students find a new creative voice While students are working on their daylight projects, we spoke with the jury member Nóra Demeter, American-born architect working in Hungary. Managing her architectural practice Demeter Design Studio, Nóra and her team put emphasis of their work in considerations of human dimension, throughout the entire design process. Read her insights and messages to students, during the global pursuit for creativity. By Jadrana Ćurković 19 May 2020
Sebastián Adamo: Daylight is our material par excellence Sebastián Adamo, jury member for the International VELUX Award 2020, sat down with our VELUX colleagues in Argentina for an interview. His insights have been translated from Spanish. By Sarah Detter 19 May 2020
Interview with jury member Martin Pors Jepsen, VELUX Group Martin Pors Jepsen is vice president of VELUX Global Product Management in Denmark. He previously served as a jury member in 2018. He provides his advice to student’s submitting to this year’s award and his unique take on the award as a member of VELUX. By Sarah Detter 05 May 2020
Odile Decq: Think about providing something for others We spoke about this year’s International VELUX Award with jury member Odile Decq, French architect, urban planner and academic. By Jadrana Ćurković 30 April 2020
Daylight Study of Zonnestraal Sanatorium With this article, we would like to share our learnings from a daylight investigation of Zonnestraal Sanatorium using Honeybee/Ladybug tools to run Radiance in Grasshopper. Drawings of the sanatorium were delivered by Wessel de Jonge Architecten, responsible for the renovation project of Zonnestraal that finished in 2010. By Christian Vindal Bech, Andreas Sørensen & Nicolas Roy 23 March 2020
Alvar Aalto: Daylight and the Experience of Landscape It is not true, as Robert Venturi wrote, that Alvar Aalto “didn’t write about architecture.” In the book, In His Own Words, Aalto’s writings and transcribed lectures, the Finnish architect discusses architecture, culture, technology, housing, and town planning. By Martin Schwartz 14 January 2020
The Multi-Layer City, Reinventing Paris Urban life and city nature in three dimensions. That is the main concept of SLA, Chartier Dalix Architectes and Jacques Ferrier Architecture’s winning project in the international mega competition Reinventer Paris. Here the team won one of the competition’s central projects: Ternes-Villiers. By Rasmus Astrup & Frédéric Chartier 14 January 2020
Skylight Illumination Design of Primary Education Building Space With the popularization of primary education in China, the use of sunlight in educational space has been paid more and more attention. That is to say, the relationship between sunlight and the healthy growth and development of the people of the right age. By Song Yehao 07 January 2020
Environmental Surfing for Health, Productivity and a Resilient Future This presentation introduces the strength of the research linking the design creativity of mixed mode ‘environmental surfing’ to our sustainable access to affordable energy, human health and productivity, and the regenerative powers of nature itself. By Vivian Loftness 07 January 2020
Health Matters: Beyond Indoor Comfort For decades, our buildings have been designed for optimal thermal, acoustic and visual comfort. But does this make them healthier for our species, which, after all, has evolved outdoors for tens of thousands of generations? Taken seriously, the design of healthy buildings calls into question many established standards and parameters in building design, from indoor temperature levels to how much – and what kind of – light we let inside our offices and living rooms. By Peter Holzer | Photography by Ola Bergengren | Set design by Iwa Herdensjö 10 December 2019
Better Daylight Through Distributed Intelligence The best way to achieve this change is through development of distributed intelligence in the form of smart luminaires, windows and skylights that carry their own sensors as well as logic controllers that adjust operable components based on environmental conditions. By Konstantinos Papamichael 25 November 2019
Daylight is a tool: Omar Gandhi Interview Omar Gandhi, recognized as one the top 20 young architects in the world and an International VELUX Award jury member, gives his tips on how to incorporate daylight into your IVA2016 project. By Shaun Weston Nystrom 14 November 2019
Biomimicry in Architectural Design Most people now accept the case for sustainability and many wonder how the debate will move forward over the next few decades. Some commentators have asserted that biomimicry will be one of the main design tools that facilitate the shift from the industrial age to the ecological age of mankind. This rapidly emerging discipline draws on a sourcebook of solutions that have benefitted from a 3.8 billion year research and development period. By Michael Pawlyn 25 October 2019
Eyes Onto the World Throughout the centuries, anonymous builders from all parts of the world have increasingly fine-tuned their window designs to the context of climate and culture. Their creations offer a number of lessons to be learnt for contemporary buildings that aim to save energy and maximise the use of natural daylight. By Francesco Anselmo and John Mardaljevic 14 October 2019
Learn to Design - with Light In recent years, the interest in daylighting has experienced an unquestionable growth, not only among architects but also among the general public. At the same time, many people are also pursuing a healthier lifestyle, caring more about their bodies and their nourishment. If this weren’t true, how else could we explain the success of fitness centres and natural foods? By Paulo Scarazzato 04 October 2019
The Circadian House: Hawkes House - Designing for Ageing The Hawkes House is a one-off design conceived for individual clients. The question arises as to how this may serve as a general model for housing for bringing *Circadian principles to bear on Design for Ageing? By Dean Hawkes 16 September 2019
History of Light Today, we take the existence of light for granted. But what was the world like when light was created? New answers to this question have been given by the European Planck satellite. It has made the most detailed observations so far of the afterglow from the Big Bang – the very first light that filled the Universe. By Per Arnold Andersen 05 September 2019
Beacon of Revival - Naoshima Hall in Honmura With his new community centre and sports hall, architect Hiroshi Sambuichi has created a central space of gathering and representation for the island dwellers on Naoshima in southern Japan. Part of an overall strategy to revitalise the island, the new buildings are intended to foster social and cultural life in the local community. Their large roofs make optimal use of “the moving materials of nature”, as Sambuichi calls them, in order to provide daylight and fresh air to the building users. The design of the buildings has been based on a combination of experimentation and advanced engineering, as well as a careful reading of the local climate conditions and existing urban patterns. By Alex Hummel Lee | Photography by Jérémie Souteyrat 04 June 2018
Choosing the Right Award Category for Your Project While working on making your daylight project the best it can be, it is important to decide whether your project has an investigating, scientific approach to daylight or if you are working with a more concrete, applicable daylight project. Architect and program manager for the International VELUX Award, Per Arnold Andersen explains more about and gives advice on working with the award categories. By Mariann Eliassen 15 May 2018
James Carpenter - Light in the Public Realm “It is about finding a way to engage people with an activation of light and space,” says architect and authority on glass and daylighting, James Carpenter, addresses the increased need for innovative strategies that heighten our collective awareness of light and nature in his talk from the 7th Daylight Symposium. Watch his entire presentation and get inspiration for your own daylight project. By Mariann Eliassen 01 May 2018
Omar Gandhi - Using Natural Light as a Tool for Creating a Strong Architectural Narrative Omar Gandhi talk from the 7th VELUX Daylight Symposium touches on how to use models and light studies to incorporate daylight into your projects and make them a natural part of their environment. Watch his entire presentation and get inspiration for your own daylight project. By Mariann Eliassen 03 April 2018
“The future of architecture should be filled with daylight,” Li Hu Interview “Dramatic daylighting, poetic daylighting, daylight that lifts your spirit. Finding ways of bringing the drama of daylight in and making it part of your life is where I see the future of architecture going.“ International VELUX Award 2018 jury member Li Hu discusses what he is looking for in your IVA 2018 daylight projects. By Mariann Eliassen 22 March 2018
Bringing the past to the future - Interview with Jury Member Saša Begović Award winning architect and jury member for the International VELUX Award 2018, Saša Begović, shares his thoughts on the future of daylight in architecture and how to get started on your IVA 2018 project. By Mariann Eliassen 27 February 2018
Evaluate and improve your project with Daylight Visualizer It's important to consider daylighting conditions in the early phase of a building design. Daylight in buildings is strongly influenced by the envelope design, as well as the proportions of the building geometry, the context and surroundings on the building site. Daylight Visualizer is a free professional tool for daylight analysis allowing you to do just that! By Nicolas Roy, VELUX Group 13 February 2018
Green Oasis - Office Building in Haelen Everyone was to profit when the mechanical engineering company Geelen Counterflow decided to expand its headquarters with a new office building in the industrial area of Haelen. Here, 50 new workstations were created for the office staff, the workers from the adjacent factory hall acquired new changing rooms and the workforce as a whole was given a new canteen. The emphasis in each case was on very high quality. By Photography: Adam Mørk and Daniel Blaufuks | Collages and handwritten notes: Daniel Blaufuks 17 October 2017
Ways Into the Light - Faculty Building in Odense An entire university under one roof. This was the idea that guided architects Krohn & Hartvig Rasmussen in the 1970s when they created the campus of the University of Southern Denmark on the outskirts of Odense. By Photography: Adam Mørk and Daniel Blaufuks | Collages and handwritten notes: Daniel Blaufuks 17 October 2017
Resurrected from the Ruins - Terraced Houses in Sesto San Giovanni Architects Gino Guarnieri and Roberto Mascazzini have erected a chameleonlike terrace of houses in Milan’s northeastern suburb of Sesto San Giovanni. Gabions cover the majority of the facades and roof whereas on the north and south sides of each home, a broad strip of copper sheeting stretches from the building’s base upwards beyond the gutter line. Windows seem almost entirely absent at first glance, with the exception of the roof windows that supply the rooms on the uppermost floor with daylight. By Photography: Adam Mørk and Daniel Blaufuks | Collages and handwritten notes: Daniel Blaufuks 17 October 2017
Where Ideas Flourish - Storage shed conversion in Tilburg The light-filled brick building near Tilburg Railway station, where employees of an IT company work and the “de Houtloods” restaurant caters for its guests, was originally erected as a storage shed for timber by the Dutch National Railway. For 150 years, it was closed to the public, as was the entire surrounding area. This did not change until a few years ago, when the city bought up the railway land and began development of a new urban district on the site. By Photography: Adam Mørk and Daniel Blaufuks | Collages and handwritten notes: Daniel Blaufuks 17 October 2017
Seeing Light - Understanding Life It was around 1665 that Isaac Newton, then still a young student at Cambridge University, performed his first experiments with glass prisms and the sunlight entering his studio. Through his observations, he found not only that white is the sum of all colours, but also that a ray of white light can be broken down into its constituent components. Many natural phenomena, from the rainbow to the fact that a cloudless sky appears blue, can be explained by the fact that light is refracted when it crosses the boundary between two different substances. By Jakob Schoof | Photography by Ola Bergengren | Set design by Iwa Herdensjö 04 October 2017
Architecture as Teamwork Architecture is created at the intersection of science and art. The closer the links between these two domains, the more likely it is that buildings will achieve a maximum for their users with just a minimum of resources. Yet who are the ‘builders of bridges’ between science and the art of building, and how do they approach their task? On the recommendation of Marilyne Andersen and Steven Holl, five experts from different disciplines talk about their experiences. By Jakob Schoof 04 October 2017
Understanding the Human Response to Daylight Marilyne Andersen is currently rated one of the world’s leading daylighting experts. Together with her research team at the EPFL in Lausanne, the physicist has devoted much of her work to studying how natural light affects humans and how this intensely dynamic interaction can be better incorporated into the designs of buildings. In November 2016, Marilyne Andersen received The Daylight Award for Daylight Research for her work in this field. By Jakob Schoof | Photography by Rasmus Norlander 01 September 2017
Works by Steven Holl The design process of any building culminates in the act of construction and subsequent operation. It is here that ideas become physical, materials take shape, and good intentions must stand their reality test. From the chaos of the construction site arises beauty, and lasting impressions are created among those who use and inhabit the building. The daylight and indoor climate inside the spaces, which until then only existed in the architect’s mind and the engineers’ calculations, can now be seen and felt for the first time. By Daylight & Architecture Magazine 01 September 2017
Designed for All Senses: the Architecture of Steven Holl In November 2016, Steven Holl received The Daylight Award for Daylight in Architecture. Holl’s ability to orchestrate rooms with light is unparalleled; the emotional intensity of his rooms and buildings is impressive. Their special quality arises from his method of working; he deliberately keeps his office small, prefers to draft his initial designs using a watercolour pad and gets his inspirations from music, philosophy and literature. By Jakob Schoof | Photography by Gregory Halpern | Watercolours by Steven Holl 20 June 2017
The Inspirations of Architecture with Christine Murray Christine Murray, International VELUX Award 2016 for Students of Architecture jury member and editor-in-chief for one of the world’s leading architectural magazines, The Architectural Review (AR), shares her architectural inspirations and thoughts on the IVA2016 regional winning projects. By Shaun Weston Nystrom 05 October 2016
Daylight for All In the small town of Montfoort, the first ten of millions of Dutch terraced houses have been converted into Active Houses. Their roofs harness the sun’s energy in three ways: to generate power, to supply heat, and as a source of light that significantly enhances the comfortable living conditions in these spacious but very deep houses. By Jakob Schoof | Photography by Torben Eskerod 25 May 2016
Experiencing daylight with Francesco Veenstra Francesco Veenstra, an award winning architect and International VELUX Award jury member, shares ideas on exploring daylight into your IVA2016 project. By Shaun Weston Nystrom 24 May 2016
Energizing with Light A close symbiosis between architectural design, ecological aspirations and a high standard of education produce a space with plenty of room for movement and an abundant supply of daylight. By Jakob Schoof | Photography by Adam Mørk and Daniel Blaufuks 03 May 2016
Daylight in Green Solution House Green Solution House is a conference center and hotel located on the Island of Bornholm in Denmark. The building was created with a special focus on providing environmental-friendly solutions, based on local recyclable materials usage, renewable energy sources utilization and life-cycle considerations. At the same time, Green Solution House aims to provide a healthy indoor environment for the visitors, meaning that they can benefit from the high levels of daylight, temperature ranges and fresh air. By Milena Slipek 30 March 2016
Daylight in Green Lighthouse From an architectural point of view the house was inspired by the sundial and the movement of the sun around the house. The design underlines the fact that the sun is an important topic in science and one of the most significant energy sources in Green Lighthouse. By Nicolas Roy 04 March 2016
Develop Bright Ideas with Daylight Visualizer VELUX Daylight Visualizer is a powerful tool to develop ideas for natural light in buildings. From small investigations to full project evaluations, it lets you calculate the performance of daylight in your design, as well as its appearance for a wide range of sky conditions. By Nicolas Roy 12 February 2016
Daylight Mapping Planet Earth Our experience of the world is strongly determined by the amount and quality of daylight that we receive. Modern methods of daylight mapping can tell us fascinating stories about the availability of natural light in different parts of the world, and on the diverse factors – both natural and man-made – that influence it. By John Mardaljevic & Francesco Anselmo 25 January 2016
A Great Daylight Experience - the first Active House in Canada The fundamental qualitative aspects of the Great Gulf Active House are guided by natural daylight and how it can soothe and otherwise improve our daily lives through an immersive experience. By Agnieszka Szwarczewska, VELUX Group 20 January 2016
Light and Materials Light and materials are inseparably connected, indeed they actually determine each other: neither is visible to the human eye until the two come together. For this reason, great architects have always also allowed themselves to be directed by the light in the choice of their building materials. They use light to draw out contrasts between different materials and they use materials that allow them to create a very specific distribution of light in a room. By Marietta Millet 06 January 2016
Educated by Nature At first glance, the houses that Peter Stutchbury has designed throughout the 35 years of his career remind us of the modernist villas to be found elsewhere in the warm temperate climates of the world, such as in California or along the Mediterranean Coast. With their immaculate detailing and stripped-back construction, they may well seem like typical lifestyle choices of affluent, post-materialist, cultural elites. By Jakob Schoof | Photography by Michael Nicholson 10 December 2015
Architecture for the Senses How can we design buildings that stimulate our senses, follow our human needs and allow us to live in balance with nature? Buildings, which combine the use of daylight and artificial light and use the “double dynamic” potential of controlling daylight and artificial light, might stimulate our senses and human needs, as well as enhance the feeling of living in balance with nature. By Christina Augustesen 09 December 2015
Design with Sunlight First Can we imagine a house without windows? Probably not, yet we don’t seem to mind spending most of our lives in artificial environments, working, studying, meeting, shopping deep inside buildings where air and light are crafted by machines to create the most uniform and stable conditions. By Francesco Anselmo 09 December 2015
Focusing on People with Clear Priorities Towards Better Architecture Evolution has conditioned human beings to flourish in daylight. This is borne out by many involuntary functions we are unable to influence, such as the automatic adjustment of our eyes to brightness, distance and colour, our circadian rhythm of day and night, and, not least, the production of vitamin D through exposure of our skin to sunlight, an essential process for the regulation of bone growth and calcium levels in blood. By Peter Andres 08 December 2015
The Light of La Rochelle On Thursday 14 October 2010, the winners and honourable mentions from the International VELUX Award 2010 met in La Rochelle, France, to explore the city and its light. The Light of La Rochelle was for the first time experienced, captured and sensed by 23 architecture students with different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. By the VELUX Group 08 December 2015
Coming Closer to the Sky The ‘Skyspaces’ by the American light artist James Turrell are sky observatories, spaces of mostly circular or elliptical plan, in which the visitor feels very close to the sky: The solid and mostly bare concrete walls of the rooms entirely blind out the surrounding landscape and focus the view entirely on the round ceiling opening, through which, depending on the time of day and the weather, pale grey or steel-blue daylight, moonlight or starlight enters the room. By the VELUX Group | Photography by Florian Holzherr 07 December 2015
Daylight, Perception, Movement and Embodied Experiences Olafur Eliasson’s art is driven by his interests in perception, movement, embodied experience, and feelings of self. Eliasson strives to make the concerns of art relevant to society at large. Art, for him, is a crucial means for turning thinking into doing in the world. Eliasson’s diverse works - in sculpture, painting, photography, film, and installations – have been exhibited widely throughout the world. By Olafur Eliasson 07 December 2015
Access to Daylight - Getting People Outside and Daylight Inside The question of successfully providing daylight to people has two distinct sets of solutions: We can try to get more people outside or more daylight inside of buildings. Ideally, we follow both approaches synchronously... By Christoph Reinhart 07 December 2015
Circadian House – Principles and guidelines for healthy homes Much focus on sustainable buildings has been on energy aspects. However, health is the most precious resource we have, and energy is only one aspect of sustainability. A primary goal for sustainability should be to sustain good health and a healthy living environment. This was the starting point for a series of workshops with international experts initiated by the VELUX Group, based on a wish to start a discussion on how to create healthier homes. By the VELUX Group 04 December 2015
Architecture for Well-Being and Health To truly enhance human well-being, building design needs to move beyond optimising single parameters such as temperature and humidity, to more holistic approaches that take their cues in health-supporting human behaviours. Based on the Five Ways to Well-Being that have recently been established by scientists, this article outlines some essential rules of thumb that designers can follow in order to nudge building users into a healthier way of living. By Koen Steemers | Photography by Thekla Ehling 04 December 2015
Creating change through daylight Daylighting has always been an essential and irreplaceable resource in the field of architecture. It can be considered a resource from a design perspective, since it contributes significantly to the character and appearance of indoor spaces in buildings, due to such features as quantity, distribution and direction, through effects of light and shadow, and as a result of its variability in space and time. By Anna Pellegrino 03 December 2015
Daylight and Architecture In this lecture David Nelson, Head of Design at Foster+Partners, demonstrates the versatile opportunities in designing with daylight through the impressive global design portfolio of his firm. Other examples from China to the US and Europe showed that daylight as a key to sustainable buildings - is a global movement. By David Nelson 02 December 2015
Daylight - a perspective The most important benefit of daylight in buildings, in my perspective, is the connection of the inside to the outside. We are human beings, we are a part of nature, and we have been, in a very basic way, conditioned by natural light and the natural landscape. Daylight, as well as access to views outside, is an essential part of our health – biologically, psychologically and spiritually. By Vellachi Ganesan 30 November 2015
Light or Dark Light allows us to understand our world by making things visible and by giving us an idea of space and time. Sunlight is a prerequisite for physical health, affecting our bodies through numerous non-visual pathways. The body and mind interacting with light is one of the sensory conditions that every architect has to contend with if the buildings we create are to foster well-being. By Craig Dykers 30 November 2015