The role of daylighting and its distribution in buildings designed by Victor Horta

Barbara Widera聽聽 聽



The article presents the results of research on the role of daylight in selected buildings representative of the work of Victor Horta. A comparative analysis of four facilities located in Brussels was carried out, including: H么tel Tassel, H么tel van Eetvelde, Maison et Atelier Horta and Magasins Waucquez. In situ studies included analyses of the level of daylight illumination to determine the daylight factor. The research showed that for Horta daylighting was one of the basic elements shaping the architecture of the building, having the same importance as a properly designed functional and spatial layout or a structural system. The most significant assumptions defining the role of daylight in buildings designed by Horta were: the goal to provide the building users with contact with nature; the aspiration (inspired by nature) to illuminate all rooms in the building with daylight; the need to create open, bright and well ventilated spaces that were an indicator of functionality and elegance for the architect. Seven main methods, by which the architect achieved the objectives described above, were identified. These were: the experimental use of steel and glass in fa莽ades, skylights as well as in stained glass or lattice windows; innovative structures enabling the space opening and the light distribution聽nside the building; providing daylight to all rooms; visual connection of the interior with the outside; the use of staircases to distribute light and air; placing mirrors to enlarge the space and reflect light, and the introduction of materials with high luminance and reflectance. Analyses showed that due to the use of these methods in the tested buildings, a very high level of daylight factor (DF) was obtained. The highest maximum value of DF = 18.5% was achieved in Magasis Waucquez, while the average value of the daylight factor for the tested objects exceeded 8% and the minimum DF level in any of the buildings was not lower than 2%. The study confirmed that Horta was one of the first to achieve such excellent results in the field of building daylighting, being a precursor of the most current trends in the design of buildings comfortable for the users and safe for the environment.

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