Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lighting Evaluation

As a group, our rating summarize in number form is a 3.5.
The space is primarily used for entering and exiting the building, occasionally functions, class overflow, or critiques may take place. The lighting is often very bright with sunlight. The lighting is an inconspicuous blend, or ambient. The space seems large because of ceiling height and emptiness of space. It is public in scale because everything is large including the windows and columns. The lobby is entirely concrete, dry wall, and glass; which would create an impersonal, generic sensation if not for the lighting.

Group Member(s): Missy Wicker

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Impact of Light on Health and Welfare

I enjoyed reading the three articles on the psychology and physiological effects of light. In the first article, I learned that melatonin increases in a person while they are in darkness. (pg.1) Previously I thought that melatonin increased in a person via sunlight exposure. I also learned that Alzheimer’s patients acted out more when they were exposed to bright light. (pg. 2) Apparently receiving too much light is just as damaging to one’s health as receiving too little light. Inadequate light can lead to other illnesses such as diabetes and cancer. Interestingly enough, night shift workers have a higher risk of getting cancer as a result of too little light. The third article said that night shift workers such as flight attendants have as much as 60 percent higher rate of breast cancer. I found it interesting in the New York Times article that daylight savings can affect one’s health. Personally I always find it hard to switch to and from daylight savings, but I didn’t know that there was scientific research to back this complaint up. It is interesting that so little a change in time, such as one hour, can create so much of a difference. I wasn’t surprised that suicides became more prevalent, however heart attacks was a surprise to me. I remember learning in a psychology course I took in high school, that suicides and depression is more prevalent in places such as Alaska where there are long seasons with little natural sunlight. I also know that people in places such as Alaska often have some kind of light machine in their homes that they sit in front of on a regular basis to help stave of things such as depression, etc. This is Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. I also remember learning that exposing oneself to bright light during the day and dim light during night was the best way to get a good nights sleep and that there were studies showing that watching television at night or being on the computer, even that much light soon before going to bed can disrupt one’s circadian rhythm. Perhaps the most interesting thing was found in the Washington Post article page 1, saying that blind women have significantly lower levels of cancer. It is interesting that the negative effects of light seem to be based solely on the eyes and not also the absorption through the skin, etc. I also found the study of cancer compared to satellite images to be interesting. Especially that breast cancer seems to be the only cancer caused by lighting. While it makes sense that lung cancer would not be caused by light, it seems odd to me that breast cancer and not skin cancer would be the overwhelming majority caused by too much or too little light. Overall I found the readings to be interesting and informative.

As a designer, it is extremely important to be aware of thing such as the psychological and physical effect of light on one’s clients. What could be more important than mental and physical health? Knowing what causes damage can provide solutions. With the small amount of knowledge uncovered even in these three articles, designers should be able to create environments in the future than solve, or at very least prevent cancer caused by light. It would be interesting to see how nightshift workers would be affected by. Perhaps natural, sustainable energy sources such as solar panels can be utilized to help solve these problems. It was also interesting the fluorescent lighting was a good thing. I was glad that the Implications article mentioned that neither a lot of natural light nor electric light or vice a versa was a good solution. To help minimize health problems, location of a project should be taken into account.