Stefan Behnisch, Omar Gandhi and Anne Lacaton Explain the Role of Light at the 7th Daylight Symposium in Berlin

Under the theme “Healthy & Climate Friendly Architecture – From Knowledge to Practice”, the 7th VELUX Daylight Symposium, held in Berlin on 3-4 May 2017, was attended by 39 speakers from research and architectural practice.

Participants were able to contrast the information presented by researchers with the ‘built experience’ of architects from Europe, Canada and USA, generating interesting discussions about the need to go deeper in the understanding of this natural resource, and then design more effectively.

These are the highlights from the event.

Stefan Behnisch


Stefan Behnisch. Image Courtesy of The Velux Group

Stefan Behnisch. Image Courtesy of The Velux Group

The symposium began with a presentation from German architect Stefan Behnisch, from Behnisch Architekten, who presented a series of projects that take advantage of new technologies to control the quantity and quality of natural light in interiors. In this way, their facades respond to specific light conditions through -for example- modular industrial panels. 

Depending on the geographical location of a future building site, the aspect of daylight plays a different role. The sun is either a friend or a foe, an asset or a problem, we have to protect against or to enhance. In some geographical locations, we are as well in need off, but have at the same time to protect our buildings against direct sunlight. It’s important for our wellbeing, but its source is also creating major challenges.

Watch the full keynote here.


City of Santa Monica Parking Structure #6 / Behnisch Architekten + Studio Jantzen. Image Courtesy of Behnisch Architekten + Studio Jantzen

City of Santa Monica Parking Structure #6 / Behnisch Architekten + Studio Jantzen. Image Courtesy of Behnisch Architekten + Studio Jantzen

City of Santa Monica Parking Structure #6 / Behnisch Architekten + Studio Jantzen. Image © David Matthiessen

City of Santa Monica Parking Structure #6 / Behnisch Architekten + Studio Jantzen. Image © David Matthiessen

Omar Gandhi 


Omar Gandhi. Image Courtesy of The Velux Group

Omar Gandhi. Image Courtesy of The Velux Group

Canadian architect Omar Gandhi showed the importance of daylight through his own work, defined -in its design process- by the use of scale models. According to his words, these allow him to experience in a first instance the behavior of natural light in the designed spaces, which is tested again during the process of construction of the building.

A really important part of the (constructive) process is when, before those artificial lights go in, you really have the chance to investigate these ideas of high and low darkness and light, and these contrast that make kind of entering these different aspects of the architecture exciting.

Watch the full keynote here.


Rabbit Snare Gorge / Omar Gandhi Architect + Design Base 8. Image Courtesy of Omar Gandhi Architect + Design Base 8

Rabbit Snare Gorge / Omar Gandhi Architect + Design Base 8. Image Courtesy of Omar Gandhi Architect + Design Base 8

Courtesy of Omar Gandhi

Courtesy of Omar Gandhi

Anne Lacaton


Anne Lacaton. Image Courtesy of The Velux Group

Anne Lacaton. Image Courtesy of The Velux Group

Anne Lacaton, from Lacaton & Vassal, demonstrated how the concept behind the metallic greenhouses have become a hallmark of their office, managing to respond to different programs through low-cost solutions with high spatial, environmental and luminous quality. 

Beyond the apparent rigidity of the structures, the architects have designed each project to always allow the freedom of use of its inhabitants, giving them the tools to be able to control the conditions of life inside the spaces by themselves.

Far beyond any aesthetic and formal determination, beyond the rules, standards and programs, buildings are beautiful when people feel good in them, when the light inside is beautiful and the aire is pleasant, when the exchange with the outside seems easy and gentle, and when uses and sensations are unexpected. We bases all our projects on the principle of generosity of space and economy, serving the life, the uses and the appropiation, with the aim of changing the standard.

Watch the full keynote here.


23 Semi-collective Housing Units / Lacaton & Vassal. Image Courtesy of Lacaton & Vassal

23 Semi-collective Housing Units / Lacaton & Vassal. Image Courtesy of Lacaton & Vassal

23 Semi-collective Housing Units / Lacaton & Vassal. Image © Philippe Ruault

23 Semi-collective Housing Units / Lacaton & Vassal. Image © Philippe Ruault

Watch a review of the whole symposium and its different activities, in the following video:

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