Introduction: Daylighting in the era of electricity
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Arguably ‘lighting’ as an architectural topic is now largely determined by the terminology and assumptions of artiﬁcial lighting, and therefore by all the science and technology that has built up around it that is decreeing the weight now given to the predictability and control of light in buildings. On the one hand, electricity has enabled the working day to be 24/7, and cities to be safe, to handle trafﬁc, as well as to be neon-fantasies of capitalist buying and selling; on the other hand, we have grown accustomed to viewing the satellite night view of the planet as marked with a luminous cancer of consumption that threatens human life itself. Its introduction may have resulted in elevating task-lighting to the quantiﬁable standards set out in current building codes,3 but too frequently it is only possible to meet such standards with artiﬁcial sources and so lights are left on whether needed or not, leading to spaces baked in uniform lux, or where task-lighting is unnecessary, their counterform, lighting-specialist effects of colour and intensity. The latter date from the electricity pavilion of the 1893 Chicago World Fair, but have subsequently led to Albert Speer’s 1935 encircling of the vast Nuremberg parade grounds with 130 anti-aircraft searchlights to create his ‘cathedral of light’,4 contemporary ‘light-shows’, as well as unctuous corporate lobbies and ﬂorid monument lighting. Most critically of all it is the advent of electric light (with the support of air conditioning) that has enabled deep-plan buildings and the need for laws to decide what corner of sky ofﬁce workers should be able to glimpse from their desks.