Written: Nivedhitha | Edited: Sanjay Jain. M

“We only know the world as it is evoked by light” – Louis Kahn

We can broadly say that the light coming in is indispensable for the functionality of a space for livability and aesthetics. Sunlight is our major source of day light which offers visibility in a space also imbues the space with heat, a requisite for comfortable living. That said, the balance of keeping some in and some out is crucial in creating the necessary comfort in a livable space. The entities brightness, darkness, heat, cold and ways of balance between them directly affect the nature of a space from being warm and cozy to being bright and lively.

Light can be infiltrated into a building through walls and roofs in different ways using different means.



As we all know, it is the most common means of light and ventilation in any building. These are punctures on walls at accessible heights treated with (transparent in most cases) operable shutters which allow breezes. Strategic placement of windows based on the sun direction and movement is essential in getting the required amount of sunlight. Bigger windows can give large amounts of light and ventilation. But it is not for the better always. For example, tropical conditions like in India, where the heat is excessive in many places, windows in the south/west bring in excess light and heat creating discomfort. While introducing right sized windows with the help of necessary shading devices cut off the excess sun-rays and keeps the space comfortable. A lot of variations in light entering can be achieved through the placements of windows and the types of shutters


The louvered shutter has a set of angled slats at regular intervals that can be fixed or operable. These louvers allow restricted light as well as breeze cutting off rain. This works as a great option in areas which require privacy and air flow in comparison to window shutters that has to be opened fully. And louvers being operable, allows one to shut off all light without curtains unlike conventional windows.



Skylights are fenestrations through roofs and unlike windows they provide direct sunlight. This way it brightens up the space largely even with small openings. Based on their design can alter the character of a space. Large skylights open up the roof making the space feel voluminous and airy. Smaller punctures control the light flow and can be used to enhance selective areas and acts as a feature by itself aesthetically. It also is very helpful when window sizes need to be restricted for privacy issues. For fixed skylight designs, laminated safety glasses are preferred. One other option for fixed skylight is having fabric shades. Such shades can be installed on the outside of the glass for the heat to be completely blocked during the peak of the summer.


This is a combination of an alternate RCC slab technique with sky lighting. Filler slabs are designed using the same principle as RCC, but replacing part of the concrete with light weight and low cost filler materials such as glass blocks, clay conical frustum, bottles, etc. These filler materials can be designed to have openings which work effectively as skylights and the regularity of pattern along with possibility of numerous light holes can light up the whole ceiling space and is aesthetically appealing. These filler slabs replace the non-functional tension concrete leading to considerable cost saving and decreased dead load of the slab. An internal cavity can be provided between the filler material which leads to improved thermal comfort for interiors.


Open to sky spaces that are usually surrounded by other roofed spaces. Locating these spaces in the central area of the building pours in light to spaces located around it and works well in buildings that have large floor area and where central spaces don’t get enough light. Courtyards are usable spaces that bring in a sense of outdoors to the inside also enhancing the quality of spaces surrounding it.