Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Lighting Evaluation
Group Members:
Diana Stanisic
Nacarra Lessane
Michelle Bodon
Katie Reynolds

Our group observed the lobby of the Gatewood Art Studio. The space is an entry way to the interior architecture and art departments, as well as an on sight gallery. When one enters this space a sense of openness and clarity is felt. This space is used for the public to display student work and upcoming events. The space feels large due to the height of the ceilings and various vertical elements. The furniture is very low to the ground which also enhances the vastness of the space. There is minimal electrical lighting. The space is mainly lit by natural light during the day. The color choice is very subdued allowing colorful projects to stand out. This space is a huge blank canvas.

Monday, August 31, 2009

architectural lighting and its affects on society

As designers it is our responsibility to do research before we design anything, so that the spaces we create are not only eco-friendly but also bio-friendly. For centuries we have been attempting to bottle up the sun through the use of electric lighting. Now that most of our industrialized world is lit up by our diverse lighting we are now starting to see the negative effect of using the different types of lighting.
I have always loved how electrical lighting can dramatically change a space and create different moods, but after reading: “Influence of Architectural Lighting on Health”, “Lights at night are a link to breast cancer”, and “The Claim-Day Light Savings Time can affect your health”. The articles provoked me to cut off the lights in my house. In the “Influence of Architectural lighting On Health”, author Eve Eldenstein describes the effects of over exposure to lighting on ones’ health, throughout the study of chronobiology. Before reading this article, I was completely oblivious on how electrical lights have the ability to change the levels of melatonin which is produced in our bodies. The article claims that the hormone promotes sleep and when someone’s body is not producing this hormone (because of the constant exposure to the electrical lighting) it has effects such as SAD otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder and sleep disturbances.
Another effect of over exposure to electrical light is that it disrupts the ganglion cells to synchronize the brain and the body’s ability to respond to it circadian rhythm. It is also known as the Human Internal Clock, is a cycle in the biochemical, physiological and behavioral processes in living things. Day light is the primary external queue which lets the body prepare for changes throughout the day. When someone is over exposed to light, the circadian rhythm gets thrown off balance. This leads to the negative side effects, cited before in the articles that I listed.
People working during the day need use more natural lighting within the building, using very large windows. At night we need lighting that will adjust in different settings. For example in hospitals we need lighting that will have different light settings for different purposes such as to dim the light for sleeping. The patients as well as the nurses and other workers in the facility would be able to reduce risk their risks for their health problems but you can still keep areas in the facility that would be well lit such as hallways and lobbies.
Another problem that we are having is the issue of sustainable lighting which is causing problems on our health. The LED lights that we use are great for the environment but are not very good for our health. Where do we compromise on this issue? We can use these lights because they are good for the earth or we can use lighting that is not earth friendly but better for us. Ultimately we have to make a decision but in the end what is going to be the ending consequences to us? our families? Community? Globally?
In the Washington Post article “Lights at Night are linked to Breast Cancer”, we are faced with bigger problems. The article states that although electrical lighting is not the main cause of breast cancer, it still does its part to increase the percentage of it in women. This hypothesis goes back to lighting affecting the production of hormones, which relates back to the arguments. The melatonin is secreted by the penal gland in the brain which helps prevent tumors, but when people are constantly exposed to electrical lighting at night, the melatonin decreases in production.
The final article also states that light is a factor of serious health effects but also states that the reason for health problems is related to day light savings. The reason for day light savings is moving the time back and forth an hour does not allow the body’s circadian rhythm to adjust, causing restlessness and serious disorders.
So, now the question is how we reverse the problems without causing anymore negative effects. The three articles share a common idea that we should re-evaluate design and the usage of architectural lighting. In the “Influence of Architectural Lighting and Health”, the article explained some of the ways that we could design a way that caters to individuals that work in the day as well as the night. By using this information, we as designers can find a sustainable ways to incorporate lighting in a way that does not cause health problems for people.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009