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Spark - The Use Of Light To Manipulate Space And Emotion

Part 1 Dissertation 2001
Sarah Cawley
University of Portsmouth | UK

Sarah Cawley

Sarah has produced a dissertation, which is clearly, and intelligently written. She has been ambitious and all areas she has researched have been thoroughly examined.

Her research methods have been consistent and well ordered, which has enabled her to cover as much ground as she has.

Her dissertation discussed the importance of the manipulation of light by architects to temper our experience of them, and hence enrich our lives, both through the buildings fulfilling the functions of the original brief but also at a spritual level. In order to do this she visited several key buildings: St Ignatius Chapel by Steven Holl, La Tourette by Le Corbusier, Fitzwilliam Chapel by McCormac Jamieson Pritchard, Liverpool Cathedral by Frederick Gibberd. Although other great buildings from across the world are discused, it was important for her to visit and be able to experience them. These were the ones she was able to reach within the time available.

Her method of approach was part phenomenological and part using her own senses and intuitions in a narrative record. Her method of analysis was inventive and innovative, as she structered both an experiential and abstract analysis of her case studies and allowed her to discuss architecture as more than the sum of its parts.

The dissertation was balanced with an early chapter on historical example of the use of light in architecture, to move people and to reinforce a mythology. This is followed by a discussion about how buildings can influence our emotions. She discusses the light range possible through with particular reference to Kahn, Lewerentz and Ando.

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