The New School Archives Digital Collections

Parsons School of Design MFA Lighting Design program theses2009 (PC020404.08) ➔ Dynamic Building Skins in Architectural Lighting: The Building as Enormous Luminaire


Related people/organizations

Ching-Yu Lin (designer)
Derek Porter (thesis advisor)
Nathalie Rozot (thesis advisor)
Kimberly Ackert (thesis advisor)
Matthew Tanteri (thesis advisor)
Megan Casey (thesis advisor)




An architecture surface such as a skin of a building, in general, is always involved with the impact of the Sun. Daylight is visible and changing over time on building skins because the reactive phenomenon takes place naturally such as reflection, shades, shadows, and so forth.

At night, when the skin is illuminated by artificial light, the light source can be either from inside or outside. Compared with the sunlight, artificial light is more stable and controllable. In the last two decades of twentieth century, it started to be embraced as an integrated part of architectural design process. Nowadays, a lot of possibilities have been explored for applying in the architecture lighting design field.

As far as building skins is concerned, there are two possible concepts that I’d like to develop: one is “Reactions” to sunlight in the daytime, and another is “Interaction” with people by artificial light at nights.

The sunlight reveals the architecture, and the architecture responds to the movement of the sun with various appearances over time. The phenomenon happens naturally even the consequence has never been considered or estimated during the process of an architecture design phase. As a result, the impact of the sunlight has been crucial factors to be considered particularly whenever the architecture is designed in a sustainable manner nowadays. When the influence of the sunlight on building skins are considered in architectural design process, the reaction of the building skins will be not only natural phenomenon, but also becoming a reaction to response to sunlight which is controlled in artificial ways. In short, the “Reaction” here is a specific which means a solution for building skins to response to sunlight in positive ways. On the other hand, when the light sources become artificial lighting at night, the “Reaction” of building skins to sunlight doesn’t take place anymore. However, when a building skin is illuminated by artificial lighting, it can be possibly not only a one-way reaction to the light source but a twoway interaction to people as well. To be more specific, artificial lighting interacts with people by building skins, is an advantage and a potential rather than just a replacement of sunlight to illuminate an architecture surface at nights.

This research will explore the potential of architecture skins to express the reactions to sunlight or interactions with people.



Use Restrictions

There’s more! What you see on this site is only what is viewable online. Please visit our website to find out more about what’s in the archives.