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Parsons School of Design MFA Lighting Design program theses2010 (PC020404.09) ➔ Brighter Ideas: Sunlighting the City of Tomorrow


Related people/organizations

Nathan Tucker (designer)
Nathalie Rozot (thesis advisor)
Peter M. Wheelwright (thesis advisor)
Phil Gabriel (thesis advisor)




With the goal of improving the exterior urban environs by ensuring the natural penetration and flow of sunlight and air, contemporary zoning regulation fails to present meaningful consideration of the future. While it has served its role by adapting to meet changing needs of the last several decades, building codes must be re-evaluated to ensure a healthy urban fabric. In this thesis, I argue that a new type of sustainable design must evolve, which considers a building’s relationship to solar conditions within a larger context. The proposition of considering areas of light and shadow in addition to access to the sky is supported by my argument that direct sunlight is as [if not more] important at the scale of the city. The thesis project demonstrates a new, sunlight-responsive design in which a building’s form is directly informed by the sun path and optimized to serve as a luminaire at the scale of the city. A matrix, by which light-responsive designs’ performance may be evaluated, is developed to begin setting standards for future design work. It is my hypothesis that increased scale and density of our city is inevitable in the future, yet if we mandate requirements regarding the size and quality of the shadows each building casts, our city can be built to new heights without consequence to healthy urban flows of light and air.



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