Monday, April 13, 2009


This week we observed firsthand the effects of natural and artificial lighting on architecture. Our subjects of study were Monticello by Thomas Jefferson and Falling Water by Frank. L. Wright. Monticello, meaning little mountain, was an experimental study of what the new American architecture was going to be. In this space viewers find artifacts form Native Americans and design elements from Roam and Greece. Thomas Jefferson took advantage of natural lighting in his space with the use of Paris influenced ski lights.

In fact in the master bedroom a ceiling sky light was designed and places in its appropriate space so that light could shine in upon the floor space as well as the upper level closet space. In other areas of the home double pained glass was placed to allow the continuous flow of natural light as well as to conserve heat. It is simple, well thought out design aspects like these that make all the difference in the space.

Take Wrights design Falling Water, originally the Kauffman family planed on having the house lay at the base of the stream so that the grand view would be of the waterfall. However, Wright changed that and made an organic structure at the summit of the falls. Like many of his designs Wright incorporated a fireplace in the core of the home, thus allowing for entertainment as well as a mane heat source. Windows and doors were strategically placed throughout the home so that rooms would be well lit and fresh air could flow through the spaces.

After florescent lighting had become available renovations had been made to the Kauffman’s home to incorporate artificial lighting. I specifically remember hallways at Falling Water being more dimly lit then rooms so that the homes occupancies would be encouraged to move quickly from the halls to the living space. I appreciate this aspect of design because it shows the grander of detail that Wright put into his work. He felt that hallways were just that, a passage way and the real space to be enjoyed was the living space.

This past week’s educational trip was enlightening on the causes of extraordinary design and how those designs affect natural and artificial lighting.

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