Laureates

The Daylight Award is given in two categories: Daylight Research and Daylight in Architecture.

Exceptionally in 2020, on the 40th anniversary of the first Daylight Award given to Jørn Utzon, The Daylight Award for Lifetime Achievement is given to Henry Plummer.

The laureates of The Daylight Award 2020 will receive the award in September 2020.

The Daylight Award is given in two categories: Daylight Research and Daylight in Architecture.

Exceptionally in 2020, on the 40th anniversary of the first Daylight Award given to Jørn Utzon, The Daylight Award for Lifetime Achievement is given to Henry Plummer.

The laureates of The Daylight Award 2020 will receive the award in September 2020.

THE DAYLIGHT AWARD 2020
FOR DAYLIGHT IN ARCHITECTURE:

JUHA LEIVISKÄ

Juha Leiviskä is one of the most significant contemporary architects in Finland. In his works of architecture, he demonstrates a unique ability to make daylight an integral part of his buildings, in a way that combines emotional delight, functional appropriateness, and a delicate yet wonderful presence of light as part of one’s spatial experience. In the current context of environmental values of architecture and the use of natural resources to create a natural and sustainable comfort, the work of Leiviska on daylight is particularly relevant today.

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Daylight solutions in modern architecture are usually based on variations of zenithal light, or narrow roof or wall slits to guide light along the surfaces of the architectural space. Leiviskä’s light is an oblique light that both hits vertical surfaces directly and is reflected to create experiences of layered light with a distinct feeling of depth. His light does not only illuminate surfaces, it appears to originate and exist vibrantly in the architectural space itself. An especially delicate effect in his light articulations is the use of reflected colour, which makes colour a constantly changing, kinetic and pulsating phenomenon. The colours strengthen and weaken, appear and disappear according to the intensity and direction of sunlight, like breathing. Altogether, Leiviskä continues and enriches the humanistic traditions of the masters of Nordic architecture and design. In his design of dwellings, Leiviskä takes the same attention to the quality and intensity of daylight for the inhabitants’ visual comfort and well-being. He does this calmly, simply, and in a refined way without seeking effects,.

His first remarkable building was the Kouvola Town Hall in the late 1960s, designed in collaboration with Bertel Saarnio, an older colleague. Leiviskä came to international attention after the 1970s with a number of exceptionally refined and moving religious buildings. In addition to several churches and congregational buildings, he has built a number of high quality houses and apartment buildings, a library, an embassy, and a cultural center in Jerusalem. In addition to his built work, he has made numerous and excellent competition entries and unexecuted projects, i.e. for museums of contemporary art. His architecture is always humane, modest, calming and optimistic. It is welcoming and gentle without any attempt to dominate or impress the visitor, or draw attention to the designer.

Juha Leiviskä himself emphasizes the relational and mediating purpose of his designs: “Architecture is closer to music than the visual arts. To qualify as architecture, buildings, together with their internal spaces and details, must be an organic part of the environment, of its grand drama, of the movement and of its spatial sequences. To me, a building as it stands, ´as a piece of architecture´, is nothing. Its meaning comes only in counterpoint with its surroundings, with life and with light”.

Leiviskä’s churches are indeed masterfully articulated instruments of daylight. He has been inspired by Bavarian Baroque churches, especially the Vierzehnheiligen by Balthasar Neumann, while his planar orthogonal compositions echo De Stijl principles of visual counterpoint. Leiviskä is also inspired by music, and his architectural projects evoke a musical feeling, especially that of Mozart. At the same time that Leiviskä’s architecture echoes architectural and musical precedents, his treatment of light reflects the natural light conditions in the Nordic forests, especially counter light seen through foliage, and the ambience of birch trees with their white vertical rhythms. Altogether, Juha Leiviskä continues ad enriches the significant traditions of the Nordic masters of modern architecture.

 

 

THE DAYLIGHT AWARD 2020
FOR DAYLIGHT RESEARCH:

RUSSELL FOSTER

Professor Foster is currently Director of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology and Head of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford. In 2015, he was honoured with a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to science. He has published nearly 200 scientific publications and authored 4 popular science books. He is a widely sought speaker and lecturer.

In the industrialized modern world, we spend on average 90% of our lives in buildings and the built environment is a primary moderator of the light to which we are exposed. The architectural community acknowledges Professor Foster’s work that identifies the short and long-term health consequences of light and considers the when, what type, and how to encourage light ingress as well as when to provide light reduction and blackout.

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Russell Foster is a fundamental neuroscientist. His interest is, and has always been, understanding how the body clock (circadian rhythm) and the sleep-wake rhythm are generated and modulated. His early research involved transplanting a specific group of brain cells from one breed of hamster to another breed. In doing so, he was able to demonstrate that it is the brain that sets the rhythm of the body clock. But perhaps his most recognized scientific discovery – first in mice and then in humans– was that the eye contains a specialized cell, a light sensor that aligns the body clock and the sleep–wake rhythm to the day-night cycle. Without this specialized cell, we would drift out of time with the day. And this singular discovery has changed fundamental tenets of knowledge regarding the effects of light on biologic systems and human physiology.

In the domain of research, there is often a movement from the bench to the bedside, in other words, the translation of basic laboratory findings to practical health solutions. Some researchers are basic laboratory scientists; others are clinical investigators. Professor Foster is both. His clinical studies in humans address important questions regarding light. How does morning light influence sleep? Why is light at night bad for health? And ultimately the answers to such questions have impacted the medical world in a variety of domains including sleep medicine, psychiatry, neurology, geriatrics, ophthalmology, immunology and even cancer medicine. In identifying the neural substrate for a non-visual light pathway to the brain, Professor Foster has demonstrated the powerful and wide-reaching impact of light on human health.

 

THE DAYLIGHT AWARD 2020
FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENTS:

HENRY PLUMMER

Henry Plummer is an architectural academic who has devoted his career to the research of daylight in architecture. Through extensive critiques and photographic investigations, he provides a thoughtful and evocative assessment of countless buildings through history.

Emeritus Professor Henry Plummer taught architectural history and design at the Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He received his MArch from MIT, studied light-art with artist, photographer, educator and art theorist György Kepes, and was a photographic apprentice to Minor White.

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Henry Plummer’s unique approach to revealing the transformative, metaphysical qualities of daylight is to combine his power of narrative analysis, with his outstanding skill as an architectural photographer. In this way, his extensive body of work has inspired generations of architects to reveal and rejoice the experiential aspects of daylight in architecture.

Plummer emphasises the role of these two forms of media: “Words examine ideas and thoughts, observations and analysis about light, while images present the phenomena themselves. It is with this in mind that the photographs are intended not as textual illustrations, but rather to form their own mode of enquiry, one that tries to carefully examine the metaphysical aspects of architecture whose significance lies, to a large extent, beyond the domain of words.”

As is evident from this output, Plummer is unique in having studied and photographed architectural light in varying cultural, climatic and geographic contexts. This cross-cultural engagement ranges from the role of light in Japanese architecture – complimenting Tanizaki’s classic book ”In Praise of Shadows” – to its significance in Nordic and Shaker architecture. In addition, he has succeeded in emphasising and mediating multi-sensory experiences – evident from his recent book ”The Experience of Architecture” (2016) – in his images and writings, especially the interplay of silence and light. Plummer’s studies catch the ephemeral, spiritual and metaphysical phenomenon of light for future generations.

In summary, Henry Plummer´s research is characterized by the humanistic, artistic, analytical and metaphysical. The depth and quality of his analysis is based on rigorous studies, embracing experiential and phenomenological as well as intuitive and artistic attitudes towards investigations of daylight. His photography is exceptional and his writing has brought a deeper level of understanding and appreciation of the quality of light to the academy and the profession.

His words and photographs are an inspiration to the study and practice of architecture.

 

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