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Daylight in Architecture Ben van Berkel & the Architectural Sustainability Platform
UNStudio, founded in 1988 by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, is an international architectural design studio specialising in architecture, urban development and infrastructural projects. UNStudio Architectural Sustainability Platform (ASP) engages all UNStudio projects from the early phases in order to ensure that the correct choices are made and that the ofce’s high sustainable standards remain an integral part of the design process. The ASP is committed to the promotion and practice of sustainable design. This involves both active and passive design tools, which have a recognizable effect on the design of the building, product or urban plan. The ASP is continually involved in the development of new tools for an improved design process. Together with the application of the many international environmental regulations and an in-house assessment toolkit, new sustainable assets are created.
Throughout the history, daylight has been a primary source of lighting in buildings. As architects and designers, we continuously work on improving quality of daylight in buildings, its aesthetics and well-being benefits. It can contribute greatly to a dynamic user experience and impact human performance. Good daylighting design can result in energy savings, shifting peak electrical demand during afternoon hours, when daylight availability levels and utility rates are high.
The aim of designing for daylight is to get as much daylight as possible deep into a building while controlling the brightness of surfaces within the users’ fields of vision.
While most of the devices encourage daylight to penetrate the building, some other systems also attempt to reduce the daylight ingress.
Depending on location and building typology, the parameters of direct and diffuse radiation and sun impact studies lead to conclusions that have influence on orientation, massing, program and envelope. UNStudio project approach is always site and climate-specific. Digital analysis of the building geometry and amount of facade openings helps to find a tailor-made solution for the building complex and its environment. All these considerations are integrated into a design approach as a holistic solution. This strengthens the concept, decreases the multitude of components and therefore reduces the costs of maintenance. UNStudio stimulates new developments of daylighting devices by digital but also physical prototyping.
Our approach to daylight in architecture is illustrated with the topics of:
Tools & Devices
The 21 story UNStudio Tower forms part of the Mahler 4 urban complex, a cluster of six buildings located in the heart of the south axis in Amsterdam.
Two main concepts are mainly shaping the building. Firstly, voids are forming a vertical accent and connecting the inside with the outside. Secondly, horizontal articulation is provided by white, aluminium bands which wrap the tower. The voids create an inside-outside relationship which extends the façade envelope and turns the surface of the tower into an active medium with a profound effect on the quality of the interior user space. The white aluminium bands differ in size, depth and transparency ensure the correct balance of sun screening, light penetration to the interiors and facilitate the daylight via redirection devices to the ceiling to ensure deeper light penetration. Thermal glazing allows for sufficient daylight, whilst reducing direct sunlight.
Daylight Massing Optimization
Daylight Redirection Devices
Project: UNStudio Tower Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands Building Typology: Office Client: Mahler 4 VOF, Consortium G&S Vastgoed, ASR Vastgoed, ING Real Estate Year: 2004-2009 Architect: UNStudio Status: Realized Total surface area: 28.280 Sq m
Education Executive Agency & Tax Office
The design for the Education Executive Agency and Tax Office building, accommodating 2,500 employees, reflects and caters for the separate identities of both user groups, whilst simultaneously creating synergy by means of shared use of secondary spaces – among which underground parking facilities, public gardens, a central hall and a pavilion for commercial functions.
The stretched coorplate guarantees a longer exterior façade in order to illuminate every office with daylight, at the same time ensuring an optimum width of floorplate – ca 23m for a double-loaded scheme.
View axis – elongated florplate Daylight Massing Optimization Daylight Redirection Devices Exterior Shading and Control Devices Glazing Material
The white façade elements work on the one hand as a sun shading and on the other hand as a daylight redirection device to generate deeper daylight penetration. Doubling- up on functionality leads to less components and less maintenance.
Reduction of direct sunlight, whilst allowing sufficient daylight is allowed by thermal glazing.
Project: Education Executive Agency & Tax Office Architect: UNStudio Location: Groningen, Netherlands Building Typology: Office, underground parking and public city garden Client: Dutch Government Buildings Agency Year: 2006-2011 Status: Realized Total surface area: 75.540 Sq m
Mirai House / Astellas Leiden
The new headquarters building for the Japanese firm Astellas houses both offices and laboratories. Essential to the design of the building is the creation of a pleasant, open and transparent working environment for Astellas employees, in addition to an agreeable and welcoming gesture to their international visitors.
Lamellas are incorporated on each level of the façade in order to deflect direct sunlight and redirect daylight. These lamellas differ in depth from 4 cm in the north to 20cm-30cm in the east, south and west.
While the north façade`s windows are installed from the door to the sealing, the east, south and west façades are introducing a parapet of 90cm height.
The glass panes are coated to additionally reduce heat load to the interior.
Project: Mirai House Location: Leiden, Netherlands Building Typology: Offices and laboratories Client: G&S Vastgoed Year: 2009-2012 Architect: UNStudio Status: Realized Total surface area: 21.300 Sq m
Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)
The academic campus for the Singapore University of Technology and Design reflects an in-depth understanding of the changing requirements of learning institutions today. Connectivity, collaboration, co-creation, innovation and sociality are at the basis of UNStudio’s design thinking on New Campuses.
The SUTD is a driver of technological innovation and economic growth, with the new campus bringing together people, ideas and innovation.
The massing block orientations are configured to minimise East/West solar exposure with considerations of inter-block shading
Courtyards enlarge the exterior façade and increase the amount of daylight penetration.
The depth of the corridors is in relation to sun and wind exposure.
Horizontal sun blinds are designed to reduce solar gain, reflect and diffuse daylight into the internal spaces.
Courtyard Exterior Shading and Control Devices Daylight Redirection Device
4. Singapore University of Tech. And Design Singapore, Rep. of Singapore
Daylight-optimized interior design Daylight-optimized exterior space design
Courtyard Exterior Shading and Control Devices Daylight Redirection Device
Project: Singapore University of Technology and Design Location: Singapore, Republic of Singapore Architect: UNStudio Client: Singapore University of Technology and Design Year: 2010-2015 Status: Phase 1 completed 2015 Building Typology: University campus Total surface area: (Phase 1) 106.000 Sq m
Ben van Berkel
Ben van Berkel studied architecture at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and the Architectural Association in London, receiving the AA Diploma with Honours in 1987. In 1988 Ben Van Berkel and Caroline Bos founded the UNStudio which is an international architectural design studio specialising in architecture, urban development and infrastructural projects. UNStudio Architectural Sustainability Platform engages all UNStudio projects from the early phases in order to ensure that the correct choices are made and that the office’s high sustainable standards remain an integral part of the design process. They make sure that sustainable knowledge and conclusions directly inform the design decisions. This involves both active and passive design tools, which have a recognisable effect on the design of the building, product or urban plan. The ASP is committed to the promotion and practice of sustainable design. The Architectural Sustainability Platform is continually involved in the development of new tools for an improved design process. Together with the application of the many international environmental regulations and an in-house assessment toolkit, new sustainable assets are created.