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Journey of Light, the Underground Building

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © matteo_dudek | Flickr

Experiencing an underground building can be quite different from the usual above-grade architectural building types that often take light for granted.

Underground, light becomes a high commodity.

Light can be sculpted like clay underground — it can be molded, filtered and juxtaposed. Play with light in subterranean buildings can serve to guide, prepare and surprise occupants experiencing the space.

In addition, it is always an interesting experience to exit an underground building — natural daylight always seems different (with its vibrancy). It would be nice if above-grade portions of buildings would pay attention to their use of light (the way well-designed subterranean buildings often have to).

Of equal importance is the transition between the two — perhaps light can become and experiential journey from high to low, and visa versa.

Try imagining your current building having to exist underground. This just might jolt you to think about using building technologies and nature in whole new ways.

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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