Feb '05 - Aug '06
The space under study is my bedroom, in Highland Apartments, number B31. It's on the third level of a building whose first is half sunk into the ground; that is, it's one and a half storeys up. It has one window, on the northeastern face, to the side of which is the next apartment block, shifted five feet northeast, so that it frames the window's gaze.
The primary function of the space, as a bedroom, is sleeping. The concept is simple, domestic. Very few waking hours are spent in this room; only those preceding and following the night's sleep. These brief hours consist of some occaisonal reading (before bed), and the daily change of clothes in the morning. The visual tasks - besides finding the way to the bed - are thus reading and looking for clean clothes.
The concept of daylighting, as it were, is that daylight is good - enjoyable - and that there should be as much of it as possible. The daylighting system involves one six-foot square window on the northeastern face, a broken set of vertical blinds, pushed to the far right, a small soffit above the window, and a pink carpet. The condition was not designed, and thus has unchangeable effects, but the user can alter its operation by adopting an intentional use-pattern. My policy is to leave the window unobscured whenever possible, and not to taint its light with the addition of electric luminaires. The light provided by the sun is more than sufficient for basic tasks; the only task that requires electric light is reading at night.
The suplimentary lighting is provided by two small rice-paper luminaires, placed on the ground on opposite sides of the wall with the entry door, and a floorstanding unit with an oversized shade, in the corner in front of the closet doors. The lamps are incandescent, warm in color, and placed as low as possible. This most likely reflects a personal need to physically oppose electric lighting and daylight; the sun is above, our lights are below.
My preference for the sun indicates the quality of light I would desire for the space: one that is uncontradicted by electricity, that varies through the day, and that is missed at night. I would have more direct sunlight, unobstructed by Ithaca's weather and casting sharp shadows, but this is not under my control. As is, the pink carpet warms the washy grey light by reflection.
The methods for constructing the light-tight testing model were basic: black foam core, faced with a paper color suited to represent whatever material condition, is white-glued together and later duct-taped. Furniture was constructed similarly, with black foam core and colored paper, but was not duct-taped. The bed also included the use of white paper, not backed on foam core, but cut and folded so as to indicate a topsheet. In addition, the colored closet doors were decorated with a mini-representation of the large-scale painting as it exists in reality. Practical considerations include a two-inch grid lightly traced on the floor, for placement of the light sensors, and a paper approximation of the window's sills and mouldings. The overhang outside the window and the protruding wall of the adjacent apartment are attached so as to be removable. Two removable panels were built, one for the entry door, and a small opening for a camera lens in the closet.
Data were gathered for a full length of points in each horizontal direction; five in the transverse axis, eight in the longitudinal (two sets of five, overlapping for two points in the middle). The two-inch grid was centered such that the extreme data points are slightly less than two inches from the room edges. The reference point was the reading on a single light meter outside of (on top of) the model. Each datum taken inside was divided by the value from the outside to illustrate the proportion of daylight present at any point inside on either axes tested. Another set was taken with the outside overhang removed, and the sets from both conditions were graphed together for each the longitudinal and transverse sections.
Both graphs display expectable conclusions; the side of the room with more glass has higher readings, sloping down to the side with less. In the longitudinal axis, the curves peak one point in from the window and decrease at a decreasing rate towards the back of the room. The curve corresponding to the modified model, without the overhang, is always higher than the other. Towards the window, the difference is greater; closer to the closets, the curves start to come together. This is explained by the fact that the overhang blocks light at an acute angle with the windowpane. Thus, the light that it would add to the room does not penetrate deeply, albeit significant. In the transverse section, the inverse is true; though the modified model still lets in more light (on the left side, as the window is shifted slightly to the left), the difference between the curves is greater on the dark side of the spectrum. This may be due to human error - a misalignment of the sensor strip during model surgury, a lack of precision in the graphing method - or perhaps the unintentional slilppage of a black foam core bookcase.
As the space existed in reality prior to its study through modeling, the lighting condition is well-known. Rather than support a projected design, the always/already exstant natural lighting system is the subject of reconsideration and readaption, not modification. Its inherent qualities, as orchestrated by the user, define the concept of lighting design.
The above-described concept of use and physical conditions introduces the space's basic method of adaption to distinct tasks: sunlight is enjoyed during the day, for basic purposes of circulation, and occaisionally at night, three luminaires are switched on for reading light.
As stated above, daylight and glare are not controlled, but rather uninhibited. Very little direct sunlight enters the room, and so direct glare is not an issue. Veiling glares are minimal because of the room's consistently light material finishes. Simply, there is not enough daylight for glare to be an issue.
Based on the desired quality of light for the space, the only changes to be made would be to increase window space, remove the roof overhang or the neighbooring building, or perhaps cover a wall with mirrors.