Sunlighting with Students
Second Sky light distribution proposal, by Anastasia Gulinskaya and Aaron Regla Breton.
Last Friday, architecture students at the University of Minnesota completed the 2011 Catalyst—a week-long intensive studio aimed at high-risk, high-reward endeavors not easily included in standard semester-long courses. Several classes were offered, ranging from the use of social media communication tools following natural disasters to the production of short films on sustainable campus design.
My section focused on architectural core daylighting, giving students the chance to design and test light distribution systems for a 3M Light Guide system—a light duct clad in highly-reflective optical film. In the interdisciplinary spirit of the Catalyst, nineteen students and I hosted Brian Stacy, Arup’s Lighting Design Leader for the Americas; John Huizinga, a retired 3M Corporate Scientist; and Garrett Mosiman, a Research Fellow at the Center for Sustainable Building Research, who all helped guide the work.
Architectural core daylighting (also called “sunlighting” by Huizinga and colleague Lorne Abraham at the University of British Columbia) propagates light up to 80 meters from its original source, deep into the chasms of light-deprived buildings like hospitals and 1970s office blocks. In a time of renewed interest in daylighting, this technique is gaining interest for use in retrofit situations where skylights or full envelope replacements would be cost-prohibitive. Judging from the students’ creative proposals—including interactive light grids, jellyfish-like luminaries, and do-it-yourself sunlight fixtures—the system could have many promising means of future implementation.