Let there be a bit less light

I was interested to read Kevin Mcloud’s article in the Sunday Telegraph this weekend suggesting that it was time to ease up on the ‘glass walls and big white boxes’. He made a very relevant and accurate observation – too much glass is a bad thing. Most clients these days ask for as much light as possible and the resulting glass certainly challenges a projects energy credentials. The reality is of course that you can have too much of any good thing, light included. What is important is not the quantity but the quality. Light should be treated like a precious resource to be used sparingly and intelligently so at not to spoil its priceless qualities through over use. Kevin called for more gloom. I would prefer to call for more atmosphere. Le Corbusier famously recognised that architecture was ‘the masterly and correct play of light on volumes’. He, like Louis Khan, certainly new a thing or too about the careful and considered manipulation of light, demonstrated in the image below of Ronchamp. Powerful gloom indeed.