Sustainable Mediterranean Construction

Sustainable Mediterranean Construction



Raul Forsoni, Valerio Ciotola, Andrea Guazzieri, Negar Sanaan Bensi

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Light and architecture have always had a close relationship with each other. The interaction between the two has constantly had a powerful and strong effect on humanity. Through the manipulation of forms, humans have always created a dialogue between natural and artificial elements (light and architecture). Throughout its history, architecture has been used to manipulate the light and, by that, affect the perception of the space and its climatic condition. Furthermore, by going beyond simple practical considerations, architectural modification of light has created symbolic and spiritual significance recognized by communities and cultures.
From the standing stones of Stonehenge, used for worship and astronomical perception in ancient times, to the elaborate use of light in Egyptian temples which hosted a gradual transition of different kinds of light- i.e. from the direct light of the colonnaded courtyard to the gloom of the Hypostyle Hall and the total darkness of the Naos, the cell, which houses the statue of the God. From the accurate manipulation of light in classical Greek temples where the interior lighting was accentuated thanks to reflective devices which allowed creating evocative light, to the light that comes distillated from the outside in Roman architecture of the thermal baths or the Pantheon.From the sublime and symbolic light of the gothic cathedrals with their magnificent stained glass windows, to the transcendent architectonical composition of light and surfaces of the baroque period. In all of these examples, the light has made a way to emphasize something more than just a space.
This mutual relation between light and architecture has been beautifully analyzed in Bruno Zevi`s essay for the congress of CICA in 1990, in which he announces the “light as an architectural form.”[1] In this essay, he indicates Chapelle de Ronchamp as a critical step in the architectural production of Le Corbusier, for the unification between architecture and light. In his analysis, Zevi emphasizes the historical period of the war during which Le Corbusier felt the “urgency of alternative values, not rational, to survive, persuade and get away.”[2] In Some way, a poetic treatment of light was the driven mechanism able to fuse architecture and light together.
Another important passage in Zevi argumentation is the description of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. In order to highlight the role of light as a semiotic element, he describes it as “a space that speaks and sings through the light.”[3] According to Zevi, Wright uses the light in a rich and vast repertoire, from “deconstructing the box” by denying the close corners to “infiltrating” a wall with light, creating “a wall of light, rich in terms of matter, non-transparent.”[4] In Zevi`s distinction between `Light as an architectural form` and `The architecture of Light` he doesn`t recognize the latter as a relevant form of treatment of light. According to Zevi, artificial light is a “superimposed decoration”[5] on buildings, “scenery sometimes decent, but often offensive because [it is] antithetical to the linguistic structures of architecture.”[6] Thus, he stresses more the interior light space rather than exterior and he clearly separate the two, suggesting that they cannot be part of the same logic.
Here, by explaining one of our projects, produced during our architectonical research on light and its semiotics references, we will try to demonstrate how, an accurate integration of interior and exterior architecture, together with non-rational and poetic driven values, can eventually lead to spatial intervention and an architecture that `speaks and sings` through the light: both natural and artificial.


SMC N.05 2017

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