Light can be a gentle thing almost magical and dreamlike but at the same time it can be unbearable, mysterious and uncontrollable.
In today’s modern world, natural lighting may seem be a passing element. Many fail to see the importance of having natural illumination where you’ll see a lot of homes, offices and other workplaces or establishments where natural lighting or illumination was poorly introduced. If you’re one of those who work or live in a poorly ventilated and artificially lit space, then you’re missing out a lot.
Though artificial lighting has its own kind of opulence, it has taken a toll in our environment and will continue to do so. Why? Because basically, electricity doesn’t come from nowhere, and it is generated from large industrial sites which emits a lot of dangerous chemicals in the air. These harmful chemicals will in no time put a whole in the ozone layer. So what is the role of natural illumination? Natural illumination or natural lighting reduces our dependency to artificial lighting thus reducing our consumption in electricity. Sounds simple enough but can be a challenge to many structures. If you live in a dense city where the only thing that’s growing is skyscrapers then you’ll have a hard time achieving natural illumination. But many designers and homeowners are keeping up with the challenge, finding and using natural lighting strategies to infuse or incorporate in living spaces.
One of the best displays of strategic use natural illumination is of Richard Meier’s Getty Center. This modernist complex sits on the hilltop in the Santa Monica Mountains near San Diego Freeway. Richard Meir used the most important elements in building a structure which are nature and culture. He was able to capture light where he positioned the buildings along a natural ridge in the hilltop. The galleries, auditorium and the offices all lead out to open spaces such as courtyards and terraces which means all the offices receive natural light.
The Getty Center has displayed the most important of all architectural elements which is natural light. The exterior walls of glass invite sunshine to illuminate the interiors as well as automatic systems which adjusts shades and louvers to light indoors. Pretty cool huh?! And the paintings in the museum are naturally lit with special filters that are placed to prevent any damage to the artworks.
Richard Meier was able to allow the structure to drink the light, the illumination given by the setting. The Getty Center has shown simplicity, warmth, craftsmanship and at the same time awareness of the surrounding elements.