From the glittering windows of Hardwick Hall and the severe shadows of the Trellick Tower, to the poetry of Chandigarh and the brash neon of Las Vegas, light is a defining factor in any form of architectural design.
Coinciding with the exhibition Lumière Mystérieuse: Soane and the Architecture of Light (19 June – 8 September 2019) at Sir John Soane’s Museum, the symposium explored the presence, use and meaning of light in architectural design across all periods and styles.
The starting point was the notion that, just as light is understood scientifically as a wave-particle duality, in architecture light exists and functions as both a natural and cultural phenomenon. While on the one hand, the way (sun)light falls over a building is arguably architecture at its most elemental, how we view those light effects is always culturally conditioned. The symposium reflected, developed and challenged this dualism.
A full programme is below. Tickets were £50 for the day (including the drinks reception). A limited number of student and early career tickets were available at £35 on application.
The venue for the symposium was Nicholas Hawksmoor's church of St George, Bloomsbury – whose own powerful and evocative use of light with provide a fitting backdrop to the discussion. The day included tea and coffee on arrival, a buffet lunch and tea and coffee during the afternoon break. It concluded with an evening drinks reception at Sir John Soane's Museum where there was be an opportunity to explore the Museum and view the exhibition Lumière Mystérieuse:
Timings and locations
10:30–17:00 at St George’s Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2SA
Reception and private view ofLumière Mystérieuse
17:30–19:00 at Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP
10:30 Doors open – registration and coffee in the Upper Vestry Hall
10:50 Welcome and introductory remarks
Owen Hopkins (Sir John Soane’s Museum)
Innovations: culture and technology
11:00 People in Glass Houses: Glass and Politeness in Eighteenth-Century Britain
12:30 Lunch in the Upper Vestry Hall
13:30 Savage Shadows – Shadows of Refinement: shadow, surface and light in the churches of Street and Bodley
15:00 Tea in Upper Vestry Hall
Meanings: functional and symbolic
15:30 Natural Light in Anglo-American Educational Classrooms between the World Wars
17.00 Closing remarks and introduction to Lumière Mystérieuse
Frances Sands (Sir John Soane’s Museum)
17:30 Reception begins at Sir John Soane’s Museum
19:00 Reception closes