The Daylight Award Community
Ida Neel Sælland
What does daylight mean to you?
As most other Scandinavians I really appreciate the daylight, when it is available. In the springtime, when the dark winter is replaced by sunny afternoons, I really feel how my mood and energy levels are recharged. After working with the daylight for the last couple of years I have especially learned to notice and treasure the variations of the daylight, when the color, intensity and direction of the light keeps changing – it really trickers my senses and my curiosity.
How did your interest in the subject rise?
My interest in the subject was founded during my bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering. During the program I became interested in the parametric design thinking. Back then the development of Grasshopper and Ladybug Tools really took pace and I studied different types of simulations from construction loads to environmental analysis. It was kind of a coincidence that I ended up writing my bachelor thesis about daylight and parametric optimization. However, I was quickly fascinated by the many possibilities to “sculp the daylight” by the means of architectural forms and the characteristics of surface materials. Afterwards I pursued a master’s degree in lighting design, where I stubbornly hold on to my newfound passion for daylight.
How do you work with daylight in your research?
As an employee in a consulting engineering company, my work often revolves around the compliance with the building regulations and sustainability standards. However, I always find ways to articulate the qualities of daylight and how to best exploit the daylight for different environments. As an engineer and lighting designer I find the interdisciplinary approach between technical simulations and the sensory human aspect very interesting to work with.
Which project/publication describes your work the best?
My master thesis about the qualities of direct sunlight in dwellings in the Nordic region. Based on a qualitative research approach we defined different qualities of direct sunlight, which were turned in to a digital analysis tool. The thesis defines five subcategories to direct sunlight – one of them being “Magic Moment”, which is a brief occurrence of sunlight that arouses curiosity and wonder in the viewer.
According to you, what is the most important focus for the future?
We live in a digital era where simulations get more and more complex, while the building and sustainability regulations sets an increasingly higher demand for building designers. I think it is very important that we don´t get lost in regulations, numbers and excel sheets, but remember to focus on the human scale and the more sensory and poetic aspect of daylight in the build environment.
Many people have inspired me and reinforced my interest in working with daylight. I have been lucky to experience many of the previous Daylight Award Laureates at the Royal Danish Academy from Marilyne Andersen to Hiroshi Sambuichi. I love learning about different approaches to daylight from the very scientific ones to the more poetic.