Facade Lighting Design Principles

The purpose of facade lighting is to transform our buildings, reveal their forms, and add value to the view. By a good lighting design, the aesthetics and beauty of a structure can increase. The character, story and history of the building and its surroundings must be thoroughly understood and studied to achieve the target.

Sunday, September 27, 2020 - 07:59

The purpose of facade lighting is to transform our buildings, reveal their forms, and add value to the view. By a good lighting design, the aesthetics and beauty of a structure can increase. The character, story and history of the building and its surroundings must be thoroughly understood and studied to achieve the target.

 Building facades are the essential aspects of architectural design that attract residents and visitors.Historical or modern the night visibility of the building facade has a crucial role in the total nocturn image of a city.

What are the purposes of facade lighting?

Architectural facade lighting has the following purposes;

  • to create visual aspects in the city
  • to increase buildings  value
  • to emphasize architecture
  • to attract attention and tourists
  •  to promote trade and business(media facades)

Well thought-out night lighting of a historical building or dynamic lighting design of a modern building can increase the value of the city, attract tourists and can support business in that area.

What are the  main questions which lighting designers should answer?

Lighting designer should decide what, when, and how to design the lighting system of the building.

1) What to illuminate?

The lighting of all the buildings in a city is of course unnecessary and will only cause visual pollution. Historical buildings should be illuminated with a hierarchy according to their values. Commercial buildings, on the other hand, should be illuminated if they have an importance for the region they are in, or they should be illuminated only for security and to clarify the main points such as the main entrance.

It is also not necessary most of the time to light up the whole facade but just highlight most significant parts of the façades and determine some architectural elements, like columns, windows, patterns, etc. will be enough.

2) When to illuminate?

Today lighting automation systems allow controlling the lighting periods.

These control systems are also solution for energy-saving and also for protecting the ecosystem.

3) How and with what to illuminate? 

From the very beginning of architectural design, the designer must decide how to illuminate the building facades so that the architectural details

will be shaped according to the techniques and systems he/she chooses.

Lighting techniques

  • Offset, lighting from a distance to highlight vertical structures
  • Grazing, lighting the texture of the façades
  • Wall washing, lighting to have a uniformly illuminated facade
  • Accentuating, lighting to create dramatic effects, especially for columns, sculptures, statues, etc
  • Flooding, using fixtures placed far from the façade for uniform illumination of the facade.
  • Decorative lighting, the use of  lighting fixtures to add beauty to the facade even if it is not functional, like sconce etc.
  • Contour lighting, clarifying the main lines of the building
  • Dynamic lighting, animated visual lighting provided by controlling different time intervals and colors

Building features that affect how to make lighting design

  • Location of the building
  • Typology of the building(historical or not, hotel, residentia, commercial)
  • Height of the buildings and architectural elements
  • Width of the building elements
  • Features of the materials used in the facades
  • Colors used in the facades
  • Technical details of the facades materials

Features to be considered when choosing lighting fixtures

  • Choosing the light color temperature, color render index, and lumen output of light sources properly
  • Using IP rated and requiring easy maintenance and installation products
  • Choosing the right beam angle and directing the fixtures correctly
  • Minimizing blu light emission
  • Choosing facade-compatible fixtures

Checkpoints

There are some check points to consider throughout the entire design process.

  • Not to create light pollution, avoid light trespass
  • Using energy-efficient lighting solutions
  • Minimising glare and controlling shadows and brightness
  • Checking how the building affects the silhouette of the city, considering that it will be seen from far distances
  • Harmony of building lighting with its close environment
  • Being respectful to nature and building environment
  • Compliance with international standards

Static or dynamic, illuminated buildings create the nocturnal view and character of our cities. Creatively and consciously illuminated buildings can become valuable elements of the environment we live in, and provide architectural and economic merit. The most important task is the duties of local governments. The main lighting plan of the cities should be designed and standards should be determined. Only in this way can cities become special, and respectful to the past and  the future.

Sources:

http://www.targetti.com/
https://illumni.co/category/lighting-design-projects
https://www.osram.com/
https://www.erco.com/guide/outdoor-lighting

Ayşe Özkiper
Linkedin

After Notre Dame de Sion French High School, Ayşe Dilay Özkiper continued her education at the Istanbul Technical University and has been graduated as an Architect. She also graduated from her MBA at the Istanbul University Institute of Business Economics. She attended various workshops, formations, and schoolings on lighting design and technique. Özkiper spent the last 20 years of her 29-year professional career in the lighting sector with the expertise of architectural lighting and still continues as a lighting designer and consultant.

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