The Daylight Award Community

Sara Molarinho

PhD in Architectural Design
The daylight is essential in our lives, to place us in time and space and not only shape our experience of the buildings but also impact our emotional states.
— Sara Molarinho


Sara Molarinho at a conference about neuroscience

What does daylight mean to you?

Daylight is one of the most powerful natural elements that an architect can work with, as Juha Leiviskä says is an immaterial material.

How did your interest in the subject rise?

I’ve started researching Juha Leiviskä’s architecture for my Phd research at UPC – University of Architecture in Barcelona.

Juha Leiviskä is a finnish architect who won the Daylight Award in 2020, in his projects the natural light is sculptured in a brilliant way. My research tries to establish a phenomenological approach to his work to understand the different phenomena of light, sound in space. This research pretends to understand how geometry and the materialization of the space can shape the experience of the users. During this research, I was getting more aware of the impact of the daylight on users and in the corporeal experience of the space.

How do you work with daylight in your research?

My research studied three different projects of Juha Leiviskä: Männistö Church, Vallila Library and Dar Al-kalima Cultural Center. These three projects are located in different places, two of them in Finland where there is a lack of Daylight during more than 6 months in winter and another project in Palestine, where natural light has a strong sunlight. This investigation studied how Juha Leiviskä adapted his architecture to a different context and shaped the natural light in different ways. From the perspective of the architect, with interviews to Juha Leiviskä, visit to the buildings to the experience of the users, with observation and qualitative interviews to the inhabitants.


Which project/publication describes your work the best?

My Phd Thesis defended las 22 of March with the title “Juha Leiviskä. A phenomenological approach to his architecture”, where I develop a methodological analysis of his projects based on place, spatiality conform by light, sonority and matters, and time.

According to you, what is the most important focus for the future?

In my opinion there are 2 main focuses for the future:

On one side the impact of the building on the users, understanding that our built environment shapes our way of living and impacts on us is fundamental as architects. The daylight is essential in our life’s, to place us in time and space and not only shape our experience of the buildings but also impact our emotional states, so I think the development of different studies about daylight in architecture in relation with neuroscience and psychology is an important focus for the future.

On the other hand, our built environment has left a footprint in our natural environment, and the understanding of daylight can help us to design not only more comfortable spaces but also in dialogue with the natural environment.

Sara Molarinho – Tesis

Who or what has inspired you?

My biggest inspiration is Juha Leiviskä’s architecture and his domain of the light.