WIT Press

The Sound Of Daylight: The Visual And Auditory Nature Of Designing With Natural Light


Free (open access)





Page Range

81 - 92




325 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


D. J. Butko


Students assemble in classrooms without windows. Parishioners attend services in enclosed buildings. Most people spend the majority of daylight hours inside buildings dependent upon artificial control systems without much connection to the benefits of natural elements – especially natural light. What happened to design integration of the basic knowledge that sunlight is practically free to harness, that the human body relies upon the sun to produce essential Vitamin D, and that humans are innately attracted to the outside world? Some designers have been convinced that energy efficiency overrules basic human needs. Others deem exterior views and natural light to be distractions for building occupants. Conversely, comprehensive design incorporates precisely layered assemblies of materials to be energy, thermally, and sustainably efficient. Natural light can truly define spatial character. Building orientation, fenestration, material surfaces, and ceiling heights all contribute to how natural light will dwell in each space. Design decisions can also affect other considerations such as acoustical properties and the overall experience conveyed to the occupants. Natural lighting is a dynamic design tool that can be an integral part of initial sketches through project design development. Fundamental principles of reflection, refraction, diffusion, and absorption are applicable to both natural lighting and acoustics. This paper will challenge designers to create space where natural light is integral to the building’s enclosure and acts as a catalyst to provide acoustical benefits as attention is focused on material selection, arrangement, and detailing. Proposals will be based on precedent studies, current research, and derived from teaching architectural acoustics and natural lighting courses. Keywords: natural light, daylight, design, building materials, sound, acoustics, architecture, architectural.


natural light, daylight, design, building materials, sound, acoustics, architecture, architectural