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Knowledge is Light Learning Centre

Part 1 Project 2009
Eric Sturlese
Queensland University of Technology Brisbane Australia
“Treat the Earth Well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children…”
Ancient Native American Proverb

The project challenges our current approach to sustainability and explores the notions of the triple bottom line in relation to social, economic and environmental sustainability to develop a nested sustainable community. The design response focuses on light and how it can be a source for social learning amongst children through participation in ecological education. Through playful learning children can become acute to sustainable issues to inform a better tomorrow.

Eric Sturlese

The proper introduction of natural light in buildings has many advantages and benefits, which range from the aesthetic to physiological and economic. It is usually understood that vision is the main role of lighting in architecture.

Phillips (2000) encapsulated this by saying “light enables us to perform, and without it the building would cease to function”. Vision in buildings could be easily achieved by artificial light; however, lighting in buildings is more than just achieving the right lighting levels for vision. Humans have evolved under natural light conditions and as a result our bodies respond to the 24hour cycle set by the rise and fall of natural lighting levels during the day. Lighting levels help us to synchronize our circadian rhythm which helps with physiological processes in the body. The sleep-wake cycle is the most obvious of the circadian rhythms; others include variations in body temperature, insulin production, regulation of kidneys and sex organs as well as influencing mood and sense of well-being in humans (Baker and Steemers, 2002). Not only, it is impossible to achieve this by using artificial light but also research studies have began to correlate working in artificial lit environments with illnesses such as depression, lethargy and even breast cancer in women (Stevens and Rea, 2001).

Lighting is also a medium of architectural expression. Lighting reveals the architecture of a building, and the qualities of a space. Daylighting, in particular, has always been used as a design element by architects. The most important quality of natural light is its changing character, which can turn something stationary as a building into a dynamic element. In addition, the elements that introduce natural light into the building can also be use as a medium of architectural expression. Also lighting is use to create different atmospheres within spaces.

Finally, energy use for lighting and cooling in buildings contribute to 21% and 28% of the total greenhouse emissions, respectively, from the commercial building sector in Australia. This energy consumption occurs during daylight hours, when there is abundance of daylight outside, Can you see the irony on that? Artificial lighting increase the need for cooling in buildings and therefore these sectors (lighting and cooling) represent the most important aspects of building design to decrease energy consumption.


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