Importance of Lighting | Natural & Artificial Lighting & architecture

Natural Lighting

In the past, our ancestors would use the sun to determine the time of the day. Today, there will always be the use of light regardless of day or night. It has come to the point, we under-appreciate the light we have around us. The article will be covering the importance of light and how light can be used creatively in architecture.

Light Definition

Light is the smallest quantity of energy that can be transported. For this topic, we will be discussing visible light and this visible light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is known as “visible” light as the visible means that it can be seen by the human eye.

Natural Lighting

Otherwise known as daylighting is a technique used to bring natural light or daylight into occupants shelter or stay. Natural Light is light generated naturally for example fireflies or the most common source of light, the Sun. This lighting can be done by incorporating external glazings such as windows and skylights. Basically replacing transparent materials on walls to allow natural light or daylight to pass through. 

There are three types of approach for Natural Lighting: Direct Sunlight, External Reflection and Internal Reflection.

Direct Sunlight

As mentioned above is incorporating external glazings into occupants’ stay. Various examples include windows and skylights, which means placing a glass window on a roof. This allows light to pass through from the top.

External Reflection

It means having a light reflecting off floor or ground surfaces. Various examples include wide window sills, light shelves and adjacent buildings. However, it should be noted that this method if excessive causes glare is a visual sensation caused by excessive and uncontrolled brightness in the field of view. 

Internal Reflection

Light-reflecting off of internal walls, floor and ceiling of occupants’ stay. This can be done by incorporating high reflective surfaces such as glossy or smooth surfaces. Examples include mirrors.

Artificial Lighting

Artificial light as its name implies is generated artificially. Common examples are light-emitting diodes. Thanks to technology, we are able to control the quality, colour and brightness of artificial light. Artificial Light is a necessity in our everyday lives. It helps us to work during hours of poor lighting and illuminate our night. Most of the current technology heavily relies on artificial light. This includes smartphones, lamps, televisions, laptops, car lights and etc.

Unfortunately, unlike natural light, artificial lighting is not ideal for photosynthesis or health of life forms such as plants. 

Why lighting is so important to us?

To show how lighting is important to us, we will talk about the benefits of natural lighting and artificial lighting separately.

Benefits of Natural lighting

It is really beneficial for health. 

  • Vitamin D – When our skin exposes to the sun, it absorbs vitamin D. This vitamin helps prevents bone loss, reduces heart diseases, weight gain and various cancers.
  • Mental Health – For places that experiences four seasons, during autumn natural light becomes more important. The article shows that 6% of the population experiences depression when autumns begin. Getting natural light can help to prevent depression.
  • Better sleep – Numerous studies have shown that more exposure to sunlight results in better sleep.
Artificial Lighting
  • Modern Life – In the past, humans are only productive during day time. However with the introduction of artificial light, unlike fire or gas lamps. Artificial lighting is brighter and enables us to stay awake longer to do more productive work which led to innovations and inventions.
  • Mental Health – As mentioned above for natural light. Artificial Light can help prevent depression.

The significance of lighting in building architectural.

Lighting is the foundation of architectural buildings. It can change the perception of space, the shape, textures of materials and improve their aesthetic features. It also plays an important role in ensuring the comfortability of occupants.

When it comes to artificial lighting in architectural design, they are commonly planned at the later stages when the design is completed. There is no problem implementing artificial lighting ideas this late. However, it also means that the design is far from its ideal.

There are three aspects of artificial lighting in architectural design to look out for when used in the beginning stages. They are aesthetic, function and efficiency.

Aesthetics aspect

It focuses on the emotional effect it has on occupants. Like what do they want the occupants to feel when they stay in the building. It is also used in retails stores, like using lighting to highlight a product.

Function aspect

For occupant’s needs such as being able to see clearly. Using lighting in pathways to guide users in the dark.

Efficiency aspect

Ensuring that necessary lighting is sufficient so that it is energy efficient. For example, installing more windows instead of light bulbs in a house or installing LED, light-emitting diodes instead of fluorescent lights as LED uses less energy.


Lighting is definitely beneficial to our daily lives, however excessive use of light will result in side effects such as glare and light pollution. 

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