Light as an Integral Architectural Element

Unlike projects in which light plays an aesthetic role, the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) focuses on functional considerations in its lighting design. In this post, we look at how natural and artificial light in the SUTD fulfil basic functional requirements of architecture as well as create a comfortable working environment.



Daytime: Introducing indirect skylights & minimising heat absorption

In tropical climates like Singapore, local people may not welcome excessive sunlight. In an attempt to avoid glare and thermal accumulation caused by direct sunlight, SUTD’s collection of buildings employ some passive sustainable design strategies. These include the shape and orientation of the individual buildings, the introduction of courtyards and the depth of the floor plates. Further, adjustments to the dimensions of the louvers and corridors create ideal daylighting conditions and to reduce the glare and solar heat gain.

Nighttime: Setting the ambiance for curated events

Incorporated into the landscape, the light scenes take on new life during the nighttime. The luminosity degree and colour temperature of each area vary by zone and function. For example, the main entrance and public spaces use relatively ‘cold’ colours to highlight them as a focal point. This thematic lighting system works with specific landscape and architectural elements to create a stage-like space for diverse outdoor activities. During the night, architecture, landscape and people’s behaviours interact through light. In this way, the lighting design forms an integral, rather than independent, visual element in the SUTD.

UNStudio Team: Chao Qi and Ren Yee