WAD13: Evolutions in Light Workshop

Monday 14 Oct 2013

Hosted by OVI with Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

With New York City playing host to WAD13, the programmes and representatives were nothing short of inspiring. The third and final day at the Centre for Architecture brought Asia's superstructures to the forefront, focusing our attention on the relationship between architect and lighting designer.

Lead by Robert Forest, Management Partner from Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill (AS + GG), and Enrique Peiniger, Co-Founder and Principle of Office for Visual Interaction (OVI), we were invited to understand and trace the dialogue between these two realms of design. Despite misinterpretations, this dialogue between architecture and lighting is paramount right from the early designs stages, throughout the duration of construction. This back-and-forth communication outlines the imperative importance both have on the detailed design, but also wider interplay of a city's landscape.

Upholding the concept of form following function, Forest and Peiniger opened the discussion with the quote from F. A. Porsche declaring the elegance of function. Equally important to the design process is their consideration of energy efficiency, building performance, city context, cultural consideration, and of course, client directives.

China's Qingdao Science and Technology City was used as an example of lighting in a wider context - a lighting masterplan. This entails a consideration of the city's different horizontal layers, it's usage, public spaces, retail promenades, it's interweaving networks - paths, roads, rivers - and of course, the specific lighting required by each of these zones. With each layer having to be carefully designed and trailed, evolved and maintained, the pair successfully outlined the imperative aspiration to design for a more efficient and aesthetically beautiful town planning.

Peinger outlined the importance for the lighting to not stand as an obvious flashing beacon, but to act as a natural, almost overlooked function. In this sense Peiniger likened himself to a costume designer - boosting a building's performance, or dressing a city's attire. Peiniger further outlined the ongoing dialogue between lighting and architecture in order to establish the city's ideal day and night articulation.

Seoul's Dancing Dragons - to be completed in 2024 - was also thoroughly discussed, giving rise to it's complex structural and lighting design. Forest explained that the design process was difficult due to the building's sheer height - a pair of 450m-high towers - calling for solutions regarding wind tunnels and extreme sunlight. Following this was the consideration of the building's nighttime identity, raising a wide breadth of possibilities for articulating form.

Forest talked through the design process of creating the scale-like facade and the implementation of frit glass shingles to 'catch the light'. Considering views from both inside and out, Peinger was sensitive to not only create a magnificent structure from the outside ground level but also sleeping, dining, and working individuals inside.

Throughout various other impressive examples, the pair successfully delivered a cohesive and inspiring workshop, which lead us to walk out into the New York cityscape with new eyes.

Stephanie Kukulka

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