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Parsons School of Design MFA Lighting Design program theses1993 (PC020404.03) ➔ Color of Daylight: A Study of Air Pollution and Water Vapour


Related people/organizations

Henry Forrest (designer)
Robert Levin (thesis advisor)
Paul Marantz (thesis advisor)




While daylight has become a more widely used tool in architecture for economic and aesthetic reasons, the color of daylight remains largely unexplored. This thesis will hope to determine if air pollution and moisture have any significant impact on the color of daylight. In pursuit of an answer to this question, this paper will explore daylighting, the atmosphere, color, and air pollution. A brief history of lighting in architecture is provided to better enable the reader to locate this work in the historical context of lighting design. Through this process, I hope to bring a better understanding of color and daylighting to the lighting designer and encourage the expand3ed use of and appreciation for these vital subjects.

While research on air pollution and the color of daylight is rare, it does exist. Since 1982, under the auspices of the National Park Service, Ron Henry of the University of California at Los Angeles has been studying the effects of air pollution on visibility and color in some national parks. These studies are intended as a preventative measure against the encroaching industrial development occurring near several parks in the western United States.

Since there has been no research done in any urban center involving commonly found pollutants in this environment, I elected to supplement the existing data with an experiment of my own. This experiment involved the recording of color measurements at the same location as an air pollution control monitoring station. The comparison of these measurements to corresponding pollution and atmospheric moisture content will form the basis which my conclusions will be made.

No study of daylight color would be complete without examining the effect of water vapor. The presence of water vapor in the atmosphere has long been studied and recognized as a strong influence in terms of its effect on light.



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