Measure of Light


The chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France

Light is an important factor to be considered during architectural design. We use illuminance to refer to the intensity of light that shine upon a certain area. There are two units to present the illuminance.

ILLUMINANCE: (old term: ILLUMINATION) Definition: Density of luminous flux on a surface

Symbol: E; Unit: Footcandle (fc) = (1 lumen per sq. foot); Lux (lx) = (1 lumen per sq. meter)

Conversions: FC = Lux x .0929; LUX = FC x 10.76 – (ie: 50 FC = 538 LUX)

The illuminating Engineering Society sorted different tasks performed in buildings into 1 to 9 categories. Each task were assigned with recommended amount of lux/footcandles. When design the lighting of a building or room, the architect should consider these categories and decide how much degree of iluminance is appropriate for the performances appear in it.


“Footcandles and Lux.” Footcandles and Lux. 1 Jan. 1999. Web. 8 Oct. 2014. <;.


Assignment 2: Energy Trace


Diagramming about the energy consumption of a four hour period in China, I realized I consumed less energy in studying but more energy in commuting compared to now in college. Chinese schools adopt a very frugal system. We don’t have any air-conditioners in classroom but only fans, which effectively make classrooms comfortable places to study. We always turn off the light when leaving the room. The transportation I commuted between school and home on daily basis is subway. Though using electricity, not petroleum, the energy consumption of running the subway is up to 30 billion kilowatt per year.

Three ways that you could have the largest impact in changing my web:

1. Individual Scale

As individual, we should drive less and use public transportation more often. Though much more energy is consumed by public transportation, the average energy consumption per capita is relatively small.

2. National Scale

The energy consumption pie chart shows China’s more recent analyzed energy source distribution. Coal still takes up almost 70% of the energy usage while nuclear takes up only 1%. We use coal for producing electricity, cooking and water heating, etc. China could adjust its energy structure to consume less coal and more nuclear for electricity and generalize electric cooking system to reduce using of coal gas.

3. Global Scale

Besides of stimulate global energy resource trading, we could put more effort in new energy development and encourage individual countries to develop and fully utilize their energy without damaging the environment.


“关于中国电力行业的资料.” 1 Jan. 2003. Web. 1 Oct. 2014. <>.

“U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – Independent Statistics and Analysis.” China. 4 Feb. 2014. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <>.
“海申通地铁集团董事长应名洪代表休会期间考察北京地铁.” Shanghai Metro. 9 Mar. 2011. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <>.
“Natural Gas.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <>.
“Coal.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Sept. 2014. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <>.

Psychrometric Study

South façade of Campbell Hall:

Bricks Temperature: 84.5°F

Concrete Temperature: 75-78.5°F

Slate Temperature: 83°F

Dew Point: 46.9°F

Wind: 0-1.1miles/hour

Air Temperature: 69.4°F

Relative Humidity: 39%-48%

Micro Climate:

Bricks Temperature: 71.5°F

Concrete Temperature: 73.5°F

Slate Temperature: 78°F

Sand (on the ground0 Temperature: 71°F

Wind: 0

Dew Point: 47.8°F

Air Temperature: 72.5°F

Relative Humidity: 38.3%

The brick walls enclose the area and create a microclimate in front of the south side of Campbell Hall. The trees form a mass umbrella that blocks the sunlight from heating the area. The sand on the ground has relatively bigger specific heat capacity, so the temperature difference during the day will be smaller than the area with asphalt or concrete as ground material. Thus, the space become a rather comfortable area to stay. It also function as a transition zone between the building and the natural world outside.

Assignment 1


a) How many hours of sunlight does your site receive on March 21st?

6 hours

b) When does the sun first strike your site on December 21st? June 21st?

10:30, 5:00

c) Which day of the year has the most sunlight on your site?

June 21st

d) If you were creating a porch that would be warm in the winter and cool in the summer, how would you orient it on your site? Would this be possible on your site?

I will orient the opening of the porch to Southwest. In summer sunlight will be partly blocked by the building and the tree canopies in South. Thus inhabitant could enjoy the shading in hot weather. In winter sunlight can light and heat the porch area thus create a comfortable place for resting.

e) Are there any notable features on your site that would influence the orientation, location of windows and shading devices?

The grass lope is relatively more appreciable view then the buildings behind. Large windows will allow habitants to enjoy the view and let the sunlight in. Also, the wind that blows from the top of the slope where the air is cooler to the bottom of the slope also gives people inclination to sit in the breeze during summer and avoid wind during winter. Sound-proof might be another aspect to take into consideration in designing. The train running at the South side of the site will have an unpleasant noise that inhabitants want to avoid.

Blog Post 2: Sendai Mediatheque

Sendai Mediatheque designed by Japanese architect, Toyo Ito is a good example of utilizing and stimulating energy flows in architecture. Located in the center of Sendai city, Japan, the Sendai Mediatheque replaces an existed old library on the site and serves as library, galleries for exhibitions, and multimedia spaces. The design objective is to create a space for people to freely exchange and absorb information in the new era of technology.


The building consists of three main elements: the floor plates, the glass skin and the columns.

Besides human body skin and clothing, “‘The third skin’ has been known to be used as an allegory for the building’s climate screen and its climate controlling function. The climate screen is the overall external instrument for fulfilment of our comfort needs.” (1) The exterior design of Sendai Mediatheque fulfils the double functions of the third skin: protection and utilization. The exterior skin of the south façade is transparent, receiving plenty of daylight, but the doubled paned or shaded glass acts as cooling war during summer time. During winter, the double skin glass functions as insulator layer to limit heat gain. The skin of the north façade is steel panel, which protects services places such as restroom, offices and storage. At night, the photovoltaic panels on the roof top supplement energy. The columns also serve as tubes of lights. Computerized rotating mirrors on top reflect sunlight into the columns and adjust corresponding to different weather and time. The transparent glass façade on three sides of the building also allows lights inside the building to shine out to the surrounding environment at night, transforming the building as a huge lantern.


The columns are the main feature that distinguish the Sendai Mediatheque from other buildings. Toyo Ito gives the columns tree-like patterns to bring the natural system inside the building. The columns grow through the building like tree trunks, feeding the building the nutrition it needs. The columns have different diameters and locations due to their different functions. Besides of lighting system, the columns also serve as stairs, elevators, ventilation and mechanical equipment. By getting natural air and sending the fresh air to each floor, the building requires little air-conditioning. Just like trees, the columns go through photosynthesis and transform solar energy to all the energy the building needs to function with. Different programs inside the building are not divided within each floor but are collected to different floors. Each floor has different floor height according to its function such as library, art studio, gallery and information center. The columns connect each floor by means of energy flow and unite the building as a whole body.


Buchanan argues that “Sustainability depends also on ensuring economic opportunity and social equity, as well as offering everyone a lifestyle that offers more than mere contentment, but also a sense of meaning and deep satisfaction. Instead of the inequalities and alienation of the present , people would be assured of the means to both fulfill their individual potential and gain a sense of connectedness, of intimate engagement with community and nature and so with their deeper psychological and spiritual selves.”(2) The deeper concept of the Sendai Mediatheque is to encourage information flow within the building and the people inside. The columns create non-closed space for people to form free circulation. The transparency of the exterior skin physically and substantially express the ideas of free information exchange and energy flows in the new century.

Untitled-2                        1299694972-sendai6-528x396


(1)Buchanan, Peter. Ten Shades of Green: Architecture and the Natural World. New York, NY: Architectural League of New York :, 2005. Print.

(2)Dahl, Torben. Climate and Architecture. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2010. 58. Print.


Blog Post 1: Shikumen and its modern transformation in Shanghai

I come from a dynamic city Shanghai. The long history of establishment and development of Shanghai gives it diversity in architecture style. It is a city that welcomes and absorbs ideas from all over the world. And thus we see contrast of modern skyscrapers and old traditional houses in the same frame in a daily basis. Many residents in Shanghai like me have experienced the transition of living in a traditional domestic settings and moving to a modern apartment.

The traditional domestic living unit in Shanghai is celled Shikumen, which literally means “Stone Warehouse Gate”. In the early 19th century, China’s civil strife forces laborers and refugees in the surrounding provinces entered Shanghai. In order to solve the housing problem, Shikuman style was invented. It combined western terrace houses and local architecture characters. To create the most efficient housing space with a dense population, the traditional separated, neighbors-isolated house was changed to townhouse style. Each residence abut another and all were arranged in straight side alley. By the end of 1840s, Shikumen had become the principal urban fabric in Shanghai. Shanghainese lived closely to each other, sharing common cooking and washing space, and thus gave Shikumen a family atmosphere and shaped it into a container of memory.

P1020504                           P1020434

Stepping into the 21st century, Shikumen becomes less accepted as a living option. People tend to pursue apartments or houses with more living space and hygiene condition. Most of the Shikumen buildings are pulled down in order to give space for urban development. But as a traditional architecture that carries cultural and architectural significance, some of the Shikumen buildings are protected and reconstructed. The most famous reconstruction is Xintiandi. After reconstruction, the adjacent units of Shikumen became restaurants, cafes, bookstores and malls. The combination of traditional architecture and modern lifestyle draws local young people and tourists to Xintiandi. Around the street corner, another Shikumen building was rebuilt as the Museum of First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Xintiandi now serves as a sightseeing site as well as a entertainment venue.

the_site_of_the_first_national_congress_of_the_communist_party_of_china18c7f02f75f2f2198bb2                        xtd-overview