An ecology of daylighting

Form follows light and performance follows form

  • Mary Guzowski University of Minnesota


This paper explores how an ecological approach to daylighting can give form to architecture while simultaneously defining the building performance and human experience. A case study profile of Mario Cucinella Architects’ recently completed ARPAE (Regional Agency for the Prevention, Environment and Energy) Headquarters in Ferrara, Italy considers the balance between the practical and the poetic, as well as the aesthetic dimensions of ecological daylighting design. Over the past decade, the “science of daylighting,” has matured as practitioners and building science researchers have continued to demonstrate measurable benefits of daylighting in the areas of energy savings, carbon and greenhouse gas reductions, increased human comfort, and improved productivity and health. These developments have benefited architects and designers to more effectively integrate daylight with other design and performance issues. Yet, with the promise of scientific and analytical advances, there also lies a risk of too narrowly focusing on daylight parameters that are measurable and empirically defined. An analytic perspective on daylighting design needs to be balanced with the qualitative and experiential dimensions of natural light. The ARPAE project was developed using design methods and tools for thoughtfully integrating daylighting performance with human experience in relation to place, seasons, and time. The paper investigates an ecological approach to daylighting design using interviews and evaluation of qualitative and quantitative assessments provided by the architect to consider the potential of daylighting to simultaneously shape the building and subsequent human experience and design performance.

How to Cite
Guzowski, M. (2018). An ecology of daylighting. ARCC Conference Repository.