Architecture of the Night (Dietrich Neumann) pdf, epub, doc

This is really the story of the relatively recent discipline of Lighting coming to terms with the ancient one of Architecture.

What a great book on a really narrow-focus subject.Centuries back the only time the night was lit was for festival, carnival or holiday, and it counted on torches and urns of inflammables for that.... The Industrial Revolution brought gas-lamps to urban areas. With the advent of non-flame sources (lime & arc-lamps notwithstanding) though, the city could be lit up at twilight for the beauty of it, for the safety of it, for the citizen now able to take an evening's stroll through an incandescent night.

And as well documented here, what a new world it would have been.Darkened towers were now adorned with glazes of pure white light, and the depth and scale of the nocturnal city became more apparent, even from the sidewalks, where before there was a hodgepodge of window and entryway illumination.

Much of the early advance in architectural lighting seemed to take place in sync with the recognition that large buildings should be required to incorporate 'setbacks' into their upper stories so as to keep airspace and daylight somewhat more available at street-level.The setbacks gave very built-up areas a little room to breathe, a chance to get some sunlight into the windows of other buildings at lower levels. And it also presented oppurtunities to site lighting banks on the periodic setbacks, to light the upper levels at night, a nice coinciding benefit of the airspace regulations.

But a broad "wash" of light is only a utilitarian use of the basic luminaire, accomplished with broad banks of cumbersome floodlamps, bolted into any convenient ledge for support.American projects got bigger and much more kilowatt-intensive along these lines, but the design aspect was still a lot of floodlighting.

European projects in the Twenties began to shift from big-bldgs-broadly-lit to sophisticated designs where the idea of just how the building would present itself at night became part of the blueprint. Lighting designers in Paris and Berlin worked alongside architects to produce more subtle, nuanced lighting strategies— and a more elegant Street, you would have to think, as compared to the US monumentals.... Buildings would have strict lines and less ornament. Light itself would become part of the palette, granting volume and presence to a leaner geometry.A look at the Lichthaus Luz of Richard Docker in Stuttgart, or the Tauentzienstrasse 3 renovation by Luckhardt / Anker in Berlin, shows a new language evolving, more integral and more restrained.

These would include the deft use of opal glass, lit from behind or below, screens, strips, discreet thin neon tubing, all kinds of hidden light sources —behind, under, and concealed by the standard elements of the facade—- but all hidden in the daytime look of the building.Modern materials helped to accomplish this sleight-of-hand, and dimmers could be utilized for seamless transition to the opulent night look,akin to dressing black-tie for dinner in the luxurious '20s .....

All that Elegance had to have a end, and by my reckoning, that would be in 1976, when the uber-icon Empire State Building decided that color would be an arresting change for the old town.And one by one other buildings decided to add to the cacophony, with competing and non-complementary color themes, mixing and cross-matching nothing much at all..... And cities around the world blithely followed the color-clash trend.The bright-white & formal-black compositions were apparently junked forever.

Lighting the city for night always had an advertising component, and the big early projects tended to have a corporate sponsor- say, the 1912 General Electric building in New York— but with the technology evolving, night-lighting and signage became even more completely intertwined.World's Fairs and Expositions added national identity and aspiration to the mix; advances in theatrical and cinema lighting resulted in more choices for the urban stage.

Architecture Of The Night takes us through the changes with representative projects, documenting along the way the road to the consumerist culture we now face, with wall-to-wall pixels of ad copy.Along with many evocative photos of the luminous world we left behind. Useful essays by the author and others, even one on Night Photography, and rare illustrations add up to what I found to be a completely gratifying volume.

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Book info

  • Author:
  • Publisher:Prestel Publishing
  • File: 2.6 Mb
  • Release: 01.08.2002
  • ISBN: 9783791325873
  • Pages 200
  • Rating: 4.33 (3 votes)

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