Daylighting in American industrial architecture: Three investigations
Kuchta, Michael John
Master of Architecture
During the early 20th century, American architects pioneered new building forms to meet the demands of a rapidly expanding industrial economy. Many factories used natural light in innovative ways to illuminate work spaces. In the 1940s, however, the large scale introduction of air conditioning and fluorescent lighting, combined with wartime production demands on America's factories, reduced the usefulness of natural light in architectural design. An exploration of architectural daylighting finds new relevance for natural light in the architectural needs of a post-industrial society. A photographic survey of daylit buildings conveys a sense of the evocative qualities of light in space. A building design posits the importance of the sky as the "fifth side" of a building site, and employs daylighting to frame the sky and horizon on an otherwise banal plot of land in suburban Houston.