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The 7th Daylight Symposium

The 7th Daylight Symposium was held at Cafe Moskau in Berlin and provided a platform for architects and experts to discuss the value of daylight in architecture and in our everyday life.

Under the theme “Healthy & Climate-Friendly Architecture - from Knowledge to Practice" the symposium presented 39 speakers from research and architectural practice, calling for more evidence and common sense in architectural practice.

A total of 360 participants from around the world witnessed in Berlin, 3-4 May 2017, presentations on groundbreaking daylight research and indepth lectures related to daylight in architecture by leading architect offices from Europe, Canada and the USA.

One of many conclusions were that research and architectural practice are increasingly approaching each other. The use of tools, simulations and virtual reality technology can establish a common understanding of the importance of daylight for us as humans – as we spend most of our time indoors.

Architecture starts where daylight hits the wall
Stefan Behnisch from Behnisch Architekten (DE) presented the first keynote lecture of the Symposium, named “Daylight as a qualitative aspect and driving element in developing architecture”, and shared how, as an architect, he appreciated the sensation of light in space.

He quoted Louis Kahn, by saying: “architecture appears for the first time when the sunlight hits a wall. Even if a building is fulfilling all technical specifications, you will have no guarantee for the quality of the light when it hits the wall”.

He illustrated his speech through examples of his work, where reflective and translucent surfaces were crucial for the sensation of daylight.


One big architectural narrative
According to Omar Gandhi, listed as one of the world’s top 20 young architects by Wallpaper* magazine, the role of daylight in the creative process was also unquestionable.

Daylight can be used as one big architectural narrative. Just like a movie plot, with low and high points

architect Omar Gandhi said.


He showed how daylight can be used as a design concept in a series of buildings, from Shantih to Harbour Heights to Rabbit Snare Gorge. Spatial experiences can be configured by using daylight to create moments and highlight special spaces through light contrasts.

Renovating rather than demolishing
Anne Lacaton demonstrated how buildings can be renovated with daylight-solutions, including how to modify and renovate a 70’s high rise buildings in Paris, without relocating the residents, by adding extra square meters of living space to improve the quality of indoor life.

These renovations were carried out for one third of the costs of demolishing and rebuilding.

Never demolish, always add, extend and give more

architect Anne Lacaton said.

She elaborated how buildings should provide “generosity of space and economy to serve life, uses and appropriation”.  

Evidence-based architecture, a strong bridge from knowledge to practice.
Implementing modern research results focused on human wellbeing, people and society could enhance the design of schools, universities and hospitals. Lone Wiggers, architect and partner in Scandinavia’s oldest and largest architectural practices C.F. Møller, focused on this. 

”If we can shorten recovery rates, bring down human error and foster happiness, we can by far outweigh the construction costs,” she pointed out.

Read more about the Daylight Symposium.

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