Joy versus Ratio: Charles Siclis and Le Corbusier on artificial lighting in architecture

Lecture by Ruth Hommelen at the symposium Architecture and Light

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.

Coinciding with the exhibition Lumière Mystérieuse: Soane and the Architecture of Light (19 June – 8 September 2019) at Sir John Soane’s Museum, the symposium explores the presence, use and meaning of light in architectural design across all periods and styles.

The 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.

A full programme is below and online booking is open. Tickets are £50 for the day (including the drinks reception). A limited number of student and early career tickets at £35 are available on application.

More information


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