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 now closed. The jury will review the projects in July and the regional winners will be announced in August.

Omar Gandhi - Using Natural Light as a Tool for Creating a Strong Architectural Narrative

“It is about using daylight and views, but using it delicately, using it to tell a story...”

Canadian architect and International VELUX Award jury member from 2016, Omar Gandhi, recounts his story about starting out on his own in Halifax and the projects that led him to where he is today – founder of Omar Gandhi Architects and one of the world’s top 20 young architects according to Wallpaper* Magazine.

Through his work with structural models and light studies, Gandhi shows how opportunities for creating strong architectural narratives which link the unique qualities of the site with the people who inhabit them, lies within the realm of adapted forms.

“Ideas of view and light and precision, feeling like you are not just putting a building on the landscape, but you are actually traversing the landscape. The architecture feels like it grew out of the ground itself.”

His projects often start with simple local precedents or diagrams which are sculpted by conditions and use to be receptive and responsive while keeping with a modest, formal lineage.

“When we write the storyline of a spatial experience, daylight or the lack thereof is used as a tool that allows us to create particular moments. Much like in film or in song, where there are both high and low points along the storyline we think not only about lighting up an entire space, but rather to highlight spaces while also considering the contrast; to use light as a tool.”

Watch Gandhi’s entire talk from the 7th VELUX Daylight Symposium and get inspiration on how to use models and light studies to incorporate daylight into your projects and make them a natural part of their environment.

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