Even though environmental conditions in the Andean Tropics are constant and favorable throughout the year, workplaces don’t take full advantage of natural lighting and struggle with the sudden transition from day to night. When the shift takes place at 6pm, employees are busy at work and cannot easily adjust. Workplace lighting proposals from Medellín carefully examine lighting levels and temperatures to design complementary lighting systems that holistically integrate natural and artificial sources. Adding to the empirical research, the proposals pay close attention to materiality and architectural finishes, as well as control and user experience.
Challenge: The lighting of this office environment does not guarantee a harmony between natural and artificial source lighting, as an overabundance of lamps are necessary to facilitate the workers’ needs. The excessive amount of papers and computers requires a dependence on artificial spotlighting, resulting in increased fatigue and stress for the workers.
Thesis: A wall finish will enhance the reflection of light inside workplace and help regulate natural and artificial lightening. This will reduce the need for personalized spotlight and desktop lamps located at each cubicle. Separating circuits will allow ancillary systems during low levels such as evenings, while an additional system shall be implemented throughout the entire day to ensure uniformity of light within the space. The aim is to increase individual comfort by reducing stress that results from unnecessary artificial lightening.
Proposal: The proposal modifies the worktables distribution, increases the visibility by eliminating dividing walls, adds circuit and artificial light, modifies the cubicles by replacing their walls with translucent, polycarbonate boards. Uniform personalized lamps are assigned to each individual workspace, to create consistency of light and design. Each of these changes optimizes the individual management of the interior lighting throughout various periods of the day and cater to differing uses by allowing control. The intention is ensure that artificial lighting will be used only when they are really necessary.
Challenge: This university space is entirely located in a basement, which ideally facilitates its function as an archive and storage facility that ensures stable temperature, lighting and humidity. Nevertheless, these benefits come at the expense of relying solely on artificial lighting. Small, shuttered portals provide little light, resulting in excess lighting, which is both inefficient and disturbing for work. The result is high-energy consumption and increased heat from the lamps, and a subsequent negative effect of visual comfort, adaptation and acuity.
Thesis: By shifting the lighting equilibrium to accommodate more day- lighting and allocating artificial lighting around individual function and activity, worker comfort and performance can be improved.
Proposal: The proposal attempts to provide stable, natural light that compliments the visual tasks and requirements for documentation, research and storage. By increasing the size of the portals and replacing the shutters with glass windows, an increased broad expanse of daylight can shine throughout the space. Discrete, individual lamps, located only where they are needed can provide support, ensuring comfort and customization. A correction in the circuiting systematizes the distribution of lighting based on the time of the day. Lamps aggregate around areas of intense worker activity.
Challenge: Contrasts in materiality and exposure to natural light can be challenging when designing uniform solutions for this workspace. Two glass facades fill the space with daylight and provide access to ventilation; the third façade blocks workspaces from outside elements so they rely solely on artificial lighting. The colors and textures vary across multiple workspaces, resulting in the necessity for individualized, often redundant and inefficient lighting solutions.
Thesis: In order to correct the varying inefficiencies in lighting, the proposal is to unify the main space with a main lighting system; improving comfort and performance overall, while giving individual support and control of each workspace. The result will increase worker productivity and create visual comfort, which will reinforce the identity of the company.
Proposal: In order to create a consistent solution, the proposal calls for an integral renovation of the workspace. The walls will be finished in a smooth texture with light colors to promote reflection of daylight and create uniform natural illumination throughout. Artificial lighting will compensate dimly lit areas, but is only installed in poorly lit locations within each workspace. Because preferences amongst workers differ, individualized circuits and lamps will create personalization at each cubical.
Challenge: This office space consists of three separate blocks, resulting in three singular circuit systems that must be individually activated. Artificial lighting system must be operated manually, so adjusting preferences of each area and user is impossible. The current lighting concept fails to incorporate multiple, recurring variables that would make the office more comfortable and efficient. While the natural lighting conditions are readily available, the location of artificial lighting circuits is not adequate for the workspaces within the office.
Thesis: A comprehensive lighting design can be programmed according to time, weather and user preferences. The system would be primarily based on natural light and only use artificial light as ancillary support. The design solution would create a uniform condition that incorporates principles of visual ergonomics, specific architecture and results in increased productivity.
Proposal: By establishing light zones and thresholds, artificial and natural illumination will complement each other and regulate inconsistencies in lighting throughout the day. High-level areas receive yearlong, intense natural light around the windows; whereas low-light areas are far from windows, trapped behind walls and corners. To supplement these low lit spaces, beam- lines are created in parallel to and as far from the window as possible, complimenting day lighting in the inner spaces of the office. A separate circuit works independently, replacing the natural daylight during darker or cloudy days.
Dealing with the Darkness
Challenge: Dark-toned finishes contribute to a difficult lighting situation, which requires high-intensity artificial lighting to meet standard performance. Wooden-clad ceiling, dark walls and floor tiles do not allow for proper distribution of natural light. The brightness of the artificial lights prohibits dimmer, more comfortable atmospheres. Furthermore, the artificial lighting system does not smoothly integrate with natural lighting coming from the windows.
Thesis: Small architectural interventions and a lighter wooden tone could improve light distribution within the office. A customized system would integrate natural and artificial lighting for visual ergonomics and the wellbeing of employees.
Proposal: The proposal for the workspace will implement lighter wood finishes with smooth architectural materials, and lighter colors that allow light reflection and the distribution. The proposal contemplates a system of artificial lighting that made up of several circuits: a system that illuminates social and ciculation areas and provides basic illumination levels in conjunction with artificial lighting, a second system that provides individual, gradual lighting for each workplace and meets optimal levels for performance.