Exterior Lighting Concepts (An Architect’s Guide)

There are two fundamental points to understand about outdoor lighting. The first is that we actually require much less light in outdoor living situations than indoors, which means the overall lighting can generally be more theatrical and less focused on tasks.

The second is that in lower ambient light situations, we actually prefer lower color temperature light (warmer); it’s actually visually more comfortable. Whether it’s our primal draw to the flickering flame of fire or the fact that warm light renders the skin so naturally, our outdoor design objective is to aim for low, warmly toned lighting levels.

In this video we’ll review the general concepts pros think about when considering how to light outdoor spaces. Specific topics covered are:
1) The Lantern Effect – using a structure’s glazed walls to provide ambient light to nearby exterior spaces.
2) Layering of light – ambient, task and accent light tips.
3) Path lighting
4) Color (and) temperature
5) Object or sentinel lighting
6) Fire
7) Wall washing
8) Dynamic range and dimming
9) Uplighting
10) Light pollution

Architects featured in this video:
John Pawson, Messana O’Rourke, Eric Reinholdt | 30X40 Design Workshop, Amantea Architects, Dumican Mosey, The Construction Zone, Shades of Green, Tobin Dougherty, Wagner Hodgson, Abodwell, Perello, William Duff, Link Architecture, Turnquist, Ruhl Walker, Tinmouth Chang, Ziger Snead, Bates Masi

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