This Master Thesis aims to investigate an immersive integration of daylight into a residential context, to explore how light and darkness – and the tensions in between them – shape the structure itself and the ways one lives within it. The project aims to elaborate a daylight program and to explore means of reaching desired lighting targets through the use and development of passive architectural daylight methods. It intends to revisit, and perhaps redefine, conventional lighting standards and to promote an architecture that advocates the integration of daylight into the every day of life lived within it.
The result and the final goal is to implement the findings into the design of a building, a daylight-tuned dwelling, that is in harmony with its surroundings and its users. A building that encourages to live with light and that enables an active dialogue with its surroundings and the natural rhythms of life.
The design proposal aims to tell a story of the visual perception of space that alters with the pace of daylight. It is a story that is predictable while at the same time truly variable, thus very fascinating. Defined by shadow is the story of a static structure that comes alive through the integration of daylight. It is the design of a divergent space that has a divers set of spatial qualities, activated and enhanced by the ever changing surrounding lighting situation.
The purpose for this thesis is to develop of a method for the integration of daylight design (and perhaps also artificial light) in a residential context, and to apply this method in a design proposal that will investigate the process where light and darkness are the main form givers of the structure itself and the ways one lives within it.
Explore the creation and sculpturing of space without the use of a tangible material. Investigate perceived geometrical alterations of space, solely by the use of light. Distinguish and recognize how light, and its absence, can generate different atmospheres in the same physical environment. Explore the interplay an the correlation between light, darkness and materiality. Study how architecture can communicate with its surroundings, with nature and with time.
Daylight is free to all – and it is abundant – inspire others to work more with daylight and to explore all the benefits from doing so. My hopes are that designing with daylight can inspire to a simpler lifestyle. Promote sustainable daylight solutions – less energy consumption and better thermal control. Develop a method for daylight design and the integration of artificial light, that can be used in any given residential context.
In addition to the above, this thesis aims to explore the possibilities to improve indoor thermal comfort and the following environmental benefits of designing with daylight. It will investigate the creation of comfortable indoor thermal climate, due to the inherent thermal properties of the building materials in combination with proper building orientation and carefully designed openings. It will research passive cooling strategies in order to reach the best possible combination of low energy use and natural climatic control and explore the design of sustainable building that need less energy to be comfortable and lessens the need for external, add on cooling features.
The site chosen for this project is #80 Judits Fancy on the Island of St Croix, one of the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Unfortunately today the island is not as much of a paradise as it has potential to be and the community suffers. A relatively high unemployment rate and corruption are problems. The need for smart, sustainable passive cooling systems for low cost housing projects that still offers high quality architecture is apparent.
The goal is that this project, through the investigation of passive cooling systems in combination with natural ventilation and daylight solutions, can provide building systems that could be used on the island and in regions with similar climates.
In 1962 my paternal grandparents made a bold move. They sold their house that they had built on the outskirts of New Haven, Connecticut, packed their bags and moved down to the Island of St Croix, USVI, with their two sons. They started designing and building homes on the island, and the Hutchins Construction company was formed. Today there are at least 50 projects to be found in the area, designed and constructed by the two of them and their company.
My father was only a couple of years old when his family started this new life in the Caribbean. He lived on the island until the age of 18 when he moved to Sweden to be with my mother. Now, almost 40 years later the two of them purchased a piece of land, neighboring the last home his parents built and resided in on the island. This in pursuit of constructing an experimental example of a low cost housing for themselves, friends and family, that can be part of ongoing research concerning passive cooling systems and off grid living in general also offering longterm measurement opportunities – post construction enabling further research.
There has been done a lot of research within the area of passive cooling techniques in residential housing projects and I have been looking into some resent works of the architect and building scientist at Lund University, Marwa Dabaieh. Her work is focused on reducing cooling demands in residential buildings in hot and dry climates. I will contact her and try to tap into her research.
Steven E. Hutchins, a licensed and practicing architect in Florida and on St Croix is my uncle. He and his firm have designed and built very many buildings on the island. He has extensive experience and knowledge about the process of designing and constructing in the islands and is willing to be part of this project as a mentor and resource.
Last year I did an internship at HBL Lighting Design in New York. They have a full service daylighting and sustainable design studio (DSD) with over 35 years of sustainable lighting experience. This studio is led by Hayden McKay, AIA, who is an expert in daylighting and solar analysis and integrated lighting systems. My mentor from this time has offered me the opportunity to ask for lighting related advice and guidance.
- Site Analysis
- Development of program
- Material investigations
- Space Definition
- The Play
- Design Proposal
- Research by design (model building)