The Daylight Award Community

Won Hee Ko

PhD. Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Daylight inspires me daily. Every morning, daylight streaming into my room is the greatest and most refreshing moment of the day. It gives me a sense of renewal and possibilities. I love to see the changes in daylight throughout the day.
— Won Hee Ko


What does daylight mean to you?

Daylight inspires me daily. Every morning, daylight streaming into my room is the greatest and most refreshing moment of the day. It gives me a sense of renewal and possibilities. I love to see the changes in daylight throughout the day.


How did your interest in the subject rise?

The field of architecture has always excited me because it is about where we live and where we spend most of our time. Designing spaces for daylight, the visual environment, and a connection to nature interests me and perfectly fits my talents. I have always enjoyed working in art, science, and nature. While studying architecture and building science and practicing in the building industry, I became interested in how the visual environment impacts people. This motivated me to pursue fundamental research in daylight and view and a teaching career to inspire younger generations with my research findings.


How do you work with daylight in your research?

My research focuses on view (i.e., “What you can see from a particular place”). Views inside buildings occur when daylight reflects off outdoor surfaces, and this visual information is transmitted through windows. Therefore, I consider window views and daylight to be integrated entities. The intercorrelated relationship between daylight and view and their impacts on people are the most interesting aspects to consider in my research. 

Which project/publication describes your work the best?

My recent publications on window view quality describe my work the best: 1) The impact of a view from a window on thermal comfort, emotion, and cognitive performance, 2) A window view quality assessment framework (2021).


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

The primary focus would be continuing fundamental research on how view impacts occupants’ physiology and psychology and finding a design method, assessment tools, and workflow that can help designers apply the findings from scientific research to the architectural design process. I strongly believe that scientific research should always consider future applications in the real world to make a significant impact.

Who or what has inspired you?

Winston Churchill’s quote: “We make our buildings, and afterward they make us. They regulate the course of our lives” is my favorite quote. Architecture merges with our everyday lives, and it truly intrigues me that my work can enhance everyone’s lives, as well as the natural environment in which we live. In line with this quote, I also have two mentors who have inspired me significantly in the fields of daylighting, view, and facade: Lisa Heschong and Steve Selkowitz.

Lisa Heschong, the author of “Thermal delight in architecture” and “Visual Delight in Architecture: Daylight, Vision, and View,” has given me the greatest inspiration to think about the fields of daylight and view. I first met her at the Building Simulation Conference in 2017, and her panel discussion was very interesting, which was heavily focused on “people” in the frame of daylight in architecture and building simulation. After the conference, I invited her to the Center for the Built Environment as a guest speaker where she gave a very inspiring talk about daylight and view, and I still remember that nobody from the audience moved for more than two and half hours during her presentation, and I still cannot forget about that moment.

Steve Selkowitz, the former Group Leader of the Windows and Envelope Materials Group in the Building Technology and Urban Systems Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, has also inspired me significantly since I met him in 2015. While talking with him, I was always able to clarify my ideas and clear up entangled thoughts. One of the areas that I am interested in is how facade materials and the controlling technologies can make a significant contribution to the human and energy impact of the building while considering the effect of daylight and view. . Steve is the greatest mentor in that regard.


Links to publications

Won Hee Ko, Michael Kent, Stefano Schiavon, Brendon Levitt, Giovanni Betti. (2021) “A window view quality assessment framework.” LEUKOS, the Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society. 40.

Won Hee Ko, Stefano Schiavon, Hui Zhang, Lindsay Graham, Gail Brager, Iris Mauss, Yu-Wen Lin. (2020) “The Impact of a View from a Window on Thermal Comfort, Emotion, and Cognitive Performance.” Building and Environment.175: 106779.

Won Hee Ko, Stefano Schiavon, Gail Brager, Brendon Levitt. (2018) “Ventilation, Thermal and Luminous Autonomy Metrics for an Integrated Design Process.” Building and Environment 145:153–65.