When one talks about architectural lighting, it’s more often than not about the design aspect of the profession or the projects of leading firms. What often goes overlooked is the driver behind lighting advancements: research.
Research generally falls into one of two paths: fundamental and applied. In the field of lighting, fundamental research focuses on the science of light; much of the significant lighting advancements of the early 19th century were made in electricity, photometry, and the development of new lamp sources. Meanwhile, applied research covers practical matters such as performance, daylighting, and sustainability.
Large and Larger Challenges
The introduction of LEDs and advancements in solid-state lighting (SSL) over the past 15 years have led to the re-examination of fundamental technological issues—color, flicker, dimming, brightness, glare, optics, and controls—as well as to challenges related to applications, such as lighting metrics and new performance criteria to consider in the illumination of spaces. “Everybody’s a bit concerned about having only one light source to choose from,” says Mariana Figueiro, director of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) and architecture professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. “There is no R&D on any other light source. Everything is LEDs. Yes, it is energy efficient, but will people accept and like it? There are many human factors associated with the use of LEDs that we still do not know.”
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