Architectural lighting, that is everything you should know about it
The main function that architectural lighting should fulfill is to emphasize the body of the building, and also to create coherence between it and its surroundings . Light enables an object to be inscribed in a certain space without disturbing a certain dominant order in a given place. An important role in this creation is played by external architectural lighting, and more precisely accenting lighting, which not only highlights the beauty of the building, but can also hide its shortcomings and give it new visual values.
What is architectural lighting?
At the very beginning, it should be emphasized that architectural lighting is significantly different from indoor lighting. Its purpose is not to enable activities on the site or to attract attention, but to show the building in a different light than it is presented during the day.
There is a basic division that segregates architectural lighting into:
- historical - period buildings and buildings of historical importance
- contemporary - modern architectural and industrial projects
- surroundings - parks, recreational areas and water facilities.
Each of the projects, regardless of the type of building, must be willing to bring out the beauty of the body while taking into account the function of the given object. The task of architectural lighting, however, is not only to enhance this image, but also to use high lighting parameters that are safe for the users of the facility.
The project itself begins with the concept of light, not the selection of specific luminaires. The idea is related to creating an attractive appearance of the building and conveying its message and meaning with the help of light. There are a number of variables that must be taken into account when selecting components for a specific installation. We can divide them into two factors - functional and emotional. "Functional" factors relate to the physical and operational characteristics of lighting, and "emotional" factors influence the user's assessment of lighting and are perceived subjectively.
When planning outdoor architectural lighting, should establish the main page from which the object will be viewed . The direction of the light must be different from the direction you are looking, otherwise you will see shadows or it will flatten instead of highlighting the details of the object.
Amount of light
The intensity of the light equals the amount of light that hits the surface. You also need to take into account luminance, i.e. light reflected from a surface and light reflectance , which affects our perception of luminosity. General industry guidelines have been adopted, including for the recommended luminance and illuminance depending on the environmental zone in which the object is located.
The visible effect of architectural lighting depends on the type of surface the light will reflect on. Dark and rough surfaces require more light than light and smooth surfaces. The situation is completely different with the color of the surface. Architectural lamps are characterized by a different color rendering factor, e.g. monochromatic fixtures or those with a narrow range of colors, they will show us only some of the colors visible on the object. Therefore it is important to use white light sources if we want to reproduce real colors.
Recently, LEDs have gained popularity. They are characterized by immediate ignition, long durability, high light parameters, very good color rendering, energy efficiency. Modern technologies and intelligent LED lighting control systems also allow you to control the light distribution or dimming .
Light color and color rendering
It is advisable to use warm lighting for materials with warm colors, and cold lighting for materials with a cold shade. With the color rendering index, the scale of which ranges between 0 and 100, parameters should be 80 or higher to ensure the color is faithfully reproduced , so that the scenery will look natural.
The use of strong colors will further emphasize the character of the building, and with softer colors a subtle aura will be introduced. By using different light sources, we will obtain contrasts that will show us the difference between the two parts of the space.
This is where the interaction of the building with its surroundings is at stake. In order to highlight a given object, special attention should be paid to luminances, which must be harmonized with the brightness of the zone.
Light beam control
Light distribution is related to the type of reflector. The round one is used to emphasize one element from a distance. Rectangular curved emits an asymmetrical beam and is suitable for irradiating large surfaces. Unfortunately, the limitations caused by the mounting locations require the use of additional luminaires, so that the end result is satisfactory.
We can obtain a contrast effect in the scenery with the help of highlight and shadow. It is created thanks to the appropriate direction of the light beam and intensity. The play of light and shadow helps a building stand out. It is also worth using contrasts on the basis of colors.
Realizations from Lena Lighting
Lena Lighting is recognized lighting manufacturer delivering high-quality products from areas such as office lighting, industrial or architectural. Our company is responsible for illumination project of the building of the Faculty of Architecture of the Poznań University of Technology. From the very beginning, it was accompanied by an ecological idea, which resulted in the creation of one of the most modern and energy-saving facilities in this part of the world. Low energy consumption was achieved thanks to the use of efficient luminaires with an integrated LED panel. The implementation itself consisted of two stages. During the first of them, outdoor luminaires were used, on which 16 lamps with individually adjusted lighting angle were mounted. In the second phase, for the upper part of the building, external architectural lighting was used in the form of a system of external luminaires with wide distribution, which caused a flood of light with a special effect cornflower color.