Research thesis : abstract


The first draft of the research project is submitted in December, after four months of work. it involves the presentation chapters, with the introduction and literature review, as well as the background research chapters and a structured plan for the case study.

The importance of natural light in generating well being in interior architecture

Author : Léa Laurent

Department : Architecture Department, Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland 

Well being is essential in regards to mental health, and is becoming increasingly popular in design. Natural light is a major factor influencing mental health and well being, and has an important potential in interior architecture. This research aims at first to understand the implications held by well being for designers, especially through the WELL standards certification(1). It then aims to understand the impacts natural light has on mental health, in order to explore techniques that can be used in interior architecture to maximise natural light in a space.

The objectives are met through different techniques, including the literature analysis of the WELL standard(1), by the interview of a wellness advisor, Aoife Hayes(2) and the analysis suggested by the seminal authors Kopec(3) and Bluyssen(4). Kopec’s analysis, support by Brown and Delay(5), aims to understand lighting, its impacts on beings and its uses in interior architecture. The importance of natural light will also be assessed through Van de Heide’s(6) explanations, as well as through the questionnaire submitted to employees of the Malraux library(7), who daily use offices deprived of natural light.

The research leads to the analysis of the role of natural light in generating well being in an interior space, especially in the case of rehabilitating heritage buildings. In those challenging situations, the WELL standard can only be applied in concept and to a certain extent, as the certification is mostly set to fit newly built spaces. The concept of well being can however be pushed as much as possible by a designer when taking inspiration from the standard, as the case study of the Bonded Warehouse suggests techniques used to compensate for the lack of natural light.

Key words : well being ; WELL standard ; natural light ; interior architecture ; IWBI

References :

(1) WELL standard, International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), 2014

(2) Aoife Hayes, wellness advisor and project manager, Arup, Cork

(3) Kopec D. (2017), Health and well being for interior architecture, chapters 1, 7, 8 and 10, first edition, New York, Routledge

(4) Bluyssen P.M. (2013), The Healthy Indoor Environment: How to assess occupants wellbeing in buildings, chapters 4 and 6, New York, Routledge

(5) Brown G.Z. and Delay M. (2001), Sun, wind & light : Architectural design strategies, second edition, USA, John Wiley and sons

(7) Van Der Heide R. (2010), Why light needs darkness, TEDxAmsterdam (6) Médiathèque André Malraux, Strasbourg, France