• Stories with the Sun

    Shading systems as generators of design


    Two complementary trends stand at the front of architectural design today: on the one hand we can find Environmental Design that promote environmental values and makes sure that the building fits its surroundings. On the other hand, organizations such as Welcoa and International Well Building Institute work to promote the physical and emotional health of the workers in the design process, since the way a building is laid out can influence its inhabitant no less than it has impact on environment.

     

    These organizations list seven factors that need to be taken into account when planning a building: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

     

    As far as architectural planning goes, we at Auerbach Halevy see the light factor as the most essential factor in the design process, and we do our best to make sure that every building we design gets the best exposure to natural light.

  • Having natural light is obviously easier on the eyes and can help us save on electricity, but not many are aware of how natural light or the lack of which can affect the physical and mental wellbeing of workers. As a part of our biological clock system, we are equipped with the circadian clock – a natural rhythmic cycle that controls the secretion of Melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone. The circadian clock gets its cues from the natural light outside. In full daylight the body secretes Serotonin, a hormone that is a contributor to happiness and wellbeing. At evening time however, when the light temperature drops from bright light temperature of 6000 K light to the soft, red, dimming light, at the light temperature of about 2000 K, the body secretes Melatonin and starts the ease down and prepare for a good night's rest. Workers who get no exposure to natural light and spend most of their day in artificial lighting can suffer from sleep disorders and can even develop mental conditions.

     

    Throughout the years, we have learned how to create optimal shading that would soften the harsh Middle Eastern sun, yet still let the users enjoy as much natural light as possible. The more we learned, we have noticed that the shading elements have become an integral part of the design itself, and are no long a side note or a technical need. The shading system has in itself become a design generator.

  • Case Studies


    Bareket II Building – From the office building that is a home to various high tech companies as well as our own studio, we have learned a hard lesson. The wish to maximize the amount of natural light in the building have led us to choose a glass wall façade. Unfortunately, on the façade facing east the offices were exposed to too much light, and eventually the large windows are often covered in roller-blinds during the day.

  • Generators of Design


    Wissotzky Building – The inspiration for the wooden louvers that give shading to the building were the ancient wooden crates that were once used for storing and exporting tea.

  • Delta Galil Building – The office building was planned to resemble four spools of thread layered one on top of the other. A central glass geometric dome allows soft natural light to permeate the floors. Originally, a set of rectangle profile louvers, colored in a gradient running from green to black would wrap the building from the outside and regulate incoming light. While testing those louvers however, we found out that the black, rectangle profiled louvers are too prominent, and that the rooms look almost as if they were barred. Eventually we switched to white, wing profile louvers – with thinner edges – this way the louvres are almost invisible when looking through the windows and onto the outside view.

     

    Design-wise the louvers serve as the threads on the so called spools, and continue the rounded lines of the building's interior.

  • On the left: trying out the colorful louvers; On the right: the original plan.


  • On the left: shaded windows and open view; On the right: notice the patch of sun where the louvers haven't been installed yet.

  • On the left: the louvers resembles threads on a spool; On the right: natural light enters the building through the glass dome.

  • Kinneret-Zmora-Dvir – A bookshelf on which colorful books are haphazardly laid was the inspiration for the publishing house's campus. Wing profile shading louvers encircle the building and echo the shape of library shelves.