written by:
October 25, 2013
Who doesn't want a little more light in their lives? In these eight projects we explore the power of illumination, from a modernist skylight in Harlem to concrete-clad funnels that mitigate the harsh sun of Puerto Rico, proving that architects across the globe know myriad ways to harness the sun.
casa delpin living room

"It's like living with a light show," says Carlos Delpin of his 1940s home in Puerto Rico designed by architect Natanial Fúster, whose work employs the use of skylights, light shafts, oculi, perforated panels, and patios to filter and play with natural daylighting. And with cross breezes welcomed into open rooms, there is no need for air conditioning. Photo by Raimund Koch.

Originally appeared in 8 Sophisticated Rooms Around the World
1 / 8
Architects Carrie and Kevin Burke designed their home to be a time-telling observatory. Sunlight is corseted through a 24-inch glass eye suspended just beneath a skylight, making the living room double as a sundial.

Architects Carrie and Kevin Burke's home in Charlottesville, Virginia, is designed to be a time-telling observatory. Before construction began, the area was surveyed to align the house precisely north to south along the solar axis and to ensure that the roof angle would parallel the angle of the sun at winter solstice. Photo by Prakesh Patel.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Time Is on My Site
2 / 8

A derelict townhouse in Harlem is revitalized by funneling light through the four-story space via a singular architectural element: a giant oculus. The architects based their design for the aperture on traditional Victorian skylights but tweaked it to fit a more modern sensibility and outfitted it with fluorescent tubing to recreate the effect in the evening. Photo by Adam Friedberg.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Modern Rowhouse Renovation in New York
3 / 8
London house backyard addition

For this double-fronted Victorian in Richmond, just outside of London, architect Gregory Phillips connected the original house to a new modern extension that doesn’t interfere with the surrounding houses. “I try to be true to the location,”he explains, “so it doesn’t seem like some spaceship has landed.” A wall of uninterrupted glass is a good way to bring natural light in, even in a famously overcast country. Photo by Richard Powers.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Victorian Secrets
4 / 8
Circular window in the Tribeca loft renovated by Pulltab Design for James Marcovitz and Jennifer Geiger.

It took more than a year for the architects to navigate the tangle of renovation red tape to get the needed building permits for this renovated Tribeca loft. Pulltab’s inventive use of motorized skylights connected to light wells, which punctuate the space, allowed the architects to create rooms that city ordinances would usually not have permitted. (New York City code prohibits interior rooms that lack light and ventilation, so dividing up a loft space with no windows along a parti wall can be problematic. Photo by João Canziani.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Renovated Tribeca Loft with Skylight
5 / 8
Rollamatic window retractable skylight in dining room

The owners of this renovated mid-century modern home in California longed for an outdoor eating area, but with the house sited smack-dab in the middle of the 40-by-100-foot corner lot, the property offered neither adequate space nor privacy from the streets or neighbors. The design team specified a 14.5-by-6.5-foot retractable skylight over the dining room, which brings in sunshine and provides natural ventilation. The Rollamatic window quietly transforms the space into a near-outdoor oasis in just over ten seconds. Photo by Mathew Scott.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Green Is in the Details
6 / 8
The Felds’ new kitchen is clean, modern, and laced with industrial touches (laboratory faucets, lab glass pendant lamps designed by Sand, stainless steel appliances) while animated by materials and crafted elements that radiate warmth: fir floors unearthe

And don't forget where the sun goes once inside. Instead of building out light-sucking dark cabinets at eye-level, consider frosted glass. In this Victorian renovation in San Francisco, rolling steel-framed panels of textured glass above the counter act as a scrim, allowing the Felds to choose what to obscure and what to display in a visually light manner. Photo by Cesar Rubio.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Victorian Revival
7 / 8
An ingenious floor treatment—slats laid over the ceiling beams—enables the skylight to do double duty, pouring sunlight into the living room below. The translucent bathroom wall turns that into triple duty.

In a Cambridge, Massachusetts, house renovated by Beat Schenk and Chaewon Kim, an ingenious floor treatment—slats laid over the ceiling beams—enables the skylight to do double duty, pouring sunlight into the living room below. The translucent bathroom wall turns that into triple duty. Photo by Adam Friedberg.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in New Beginnings
8 / 8
casa delpin living room

"It's like living with a light show," says Carlos Delpin of his 1940s home in Puerto Rico designed by architect Natanial Fúster, whose work employs the use of skylights, light shafts, oculi, perforated panels, and patios to filter and play with natural daylighting. And with cross breezes welcomed into open rooms, there is no need for air conditioning. Photo by Raimund Koch.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016