WHO has stated that humans are increasingly spending 90% of their times indoors, even before the COVID-19 crises. Now, while we are all locked down in our homes, our time inside have increased significantly.
Natural light and ventilation have a significant impact on our lives, more than we realize. Enclosing yourself in a room with bare minimum natural light can cause some issues in your life. Depression, lack of vitamin D and productivity decrease. Studies have proven some amazing benefits of natural light for us.
Naturally lit spaces inside houses, offices and schools increase productivity among the users. Studies have shown that students giving a math test in better-daylit classroom perform better than ones in with less daylighting. The performance of workers improves in workplaces with windows that allow in light and ventilation, and a view.
Air inside our homes is as vital to us, as the food we eat, water we drink. But do we give as much thought to it? Air in our homes can be five times for polluted than the air outdoors because of e.g. pollutants that emanate from toxic materials inside, such as building materials, cleaning products, furniture, plastics, toys, etc. Our daily activities in are packed houses like cooking, burning candles, drying clothes indoors etc contribute to polluting our air.
The most common way of getting natural light is through windows. Large windows or window walls can open up the space. They add to the width and height of the room making the space look bigger. Also, windows connect the outdoors to the indoors and bring greenery and blue skies in our lives.
But the size and placement of windows should be planned according to the climatic conditions. As glass while bringing in light also brings in heat, that could create uncomfortable environment indoors.
A skylight is a light-transmitting structure that forms all or part of the roof space of a building for day lighting purposes. It illuminates the entire room and can even highlight the darkest corners.
The colors of a room can change the way we perceive the way natural light falls in it. Colors have different properties and create different impact in room with natural light. Bold and dark colors in a room with less natural light will create a dull effect in the room. But if the natural light gets better the space will become strong. Likewise, bright colors can lighten up a room even with less day lighting.
Natural light and fresh air can transform a space significantly. Well planned windows, Skylights and color combinations of a space can set the mood of the space according to the activity to be conducted within the space.
Carefully designed spaces in a house can create space where families spend much of their time, bright breakfast rooms that energize the family before school and work, and for a cozy nook that is ripe for reading any time of the day.
Naturally lit classrooms will enhance the concentration span of students and bring life to the boring lectures that students find themselves in, as the spaces become more open and bigger. This helps the students to think clearly and openly. Similarly, employees feel free and are able to be more attentive to work.
We find ourselves in a better and lighter mood, when we enter a place that has ample of natural light and air. We have locked ourselves indoors for now, but with just a few and simple design elements we can bring the outdoors inside and experience the freshness nature provides us with.
Architects and designers should consciously plan, keeping in mind the crucial role natural light and fresh air plays in not only are spaces but our lives. Furthermore, how these spaces play a role in our lives. If a living room is designed such that it welcomes the family living in that house, that once space can create abundant memories for that family. We, as architects and designers should be sensitive to the impact of our designs.