Call for Papers: Architecture and Light – 2019 SAHGB symposium. London, 22 June 2019

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.

This symposium will coincide with two exhibitions at Sir John Soane’s Museum: one on ‘Soane and Light’ and another – as yet untitled – with a leading contemporary light artist working in sympathy with the spaces of the Museum. As such the theme of this symposium is ‘architecture and light’ and thereby focuses on the presence, use and meaning of light in architectural design across all periods and styles.

One important starting point will be 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 will reflect, develop and challenge this dualism.

We welcome speakers – both established and emerging – considering this subject in all aspects of architectural production. Some of the topics that papers might consider are:

  • Light as a functional element in architecture and its interactions with different materials and construction methodologies.
  • The meaning of light and how this is shaped by different forms, styles and contexts.
  • The ways light is mediated in architecture, physically, such as with glazing and mirrors.
  • The ways in which light is expressed in architectural drawings and other forms of representation.
  • The relationship between natural and artificial light in/on architecture.
  • The impact of developing glazing and lighting technologies upon architecture.
  • The relationship between light and shadow in/on architecture.
  • The politics of light, particularly in an urban setting.
  • The methodological problems of analyzing light – by nature immaterial – in architectural history.
  • What scientific studies of light can bring to our understanding of its effects in architecture.

If you are interested in contributing to the symposium, please submit an abstract of maximum 300 words and a biography of maximum 150 words to fsands@soane.org.uk by 10am on Monday 7 January 2019.

The full call for papers is available here.

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