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Let There be Light

Light is the most important thing on our planet. Without light we wouldn't have life.

Most animals crave light and seek it out. In our houses, the windows let in the light. And most of my clients want a lot of windows.

But daylight needs to be considered based on its solar orientation relative to the house and its site.

South light is the gold standard. It is warm and yellow, cheerful and makes people happy. Just as importantly, south light can be controlled by the architect since it is high in the sky in the summer, and low in the sky in winter. Translation: overhangs will keep it out in the summer and its low position in the sky will bring it deep into the house in the winter, warming its inhabitants.

This is NOT the case with west and east light. These two orientations can NOT be controlled with overhangs. West and east light is lower to the horizon than south light and comes deep into the house in the summer, causing excessive and unpleasant solar heat gain.

North light is soft and indirect. It's glare free too. Long prized by artists, the famous garretts or studios in Paris were large rooms with huge walls of north light. North light is good light for working by.

No one ever described light better than Sven Nykvist, Ingmar Bergman's cinematographer.

"Light can be gentle, dangerous, dreamlike, bare, living, dead, misty, clear, hot, dark, violet, spring-like, falling straight, sensual, limited, poisonous, calm and soft."

Sven Nykvist


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