Light and Sustainable Design

Fall 2017, Sustainable Design Course

Professor Matt Fajkus, AIA




The various activities that occur during a day are related to the sun’s trajectory. Consequently, the diurnal cycle directly affects the function and organizational layout of a building or room. By relating time, function, and form, we can maximize and manipulate the use of daylight in a space to create a more sustainable environment and set the users on a solar pilgrimage.



Our goal is to maximize and control the way light is received in a room based on the specific function of that room. In our attempt to do so, we designed a light modulator plane that would respond to the sun’s trajectory. We took into consideration:

•Time of day

•Function of room

•Window orientation

•Color and reflective properties

The room we designed for is a kitchen. We related the changing position of the sun to the activities that occur in a kitchen. For example, people have breakfast in the morning and dinner in the evening.

Morning: We oriented the windows on the right face of the wall away from the east sun to avoid direct sunlight in the morning. The light would hit the left side of the room in the morning, so we designated this side to be the breakfast area. We colored the surrounding faces of these windows yellow to further illuminate the breakfast area during early hours.

Mid-day: The surrounding faces of the windows in the center are colored blue and are less angled. During the afternoon, the sun would hit the faces and reflect into the center of the room. The blue color would diffuse the daylight and create a neutral, white hue for most of the day.

Evening: The surrounding faces of the windows on the left are colored red and oriented away from the west sun to avoid direct sunlight. As the sun sets, it would illuminate the right side of the room, which we designated to be the dinner area. The light would reflect off the faces and create a red hue, further exaggerating the effects of the setting sun for dinner time.



noun: heliocentric

verb: orient

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Morning Render

Morning Render

Night Render

Night Render

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Actual Model and False Color Image

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