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The advantages and disadvantages of natural lighting

In architectural works, natural lighting is exploited through the door system on the wall, roof or in combination with open spaces and ventilation cells.

According to Vietnamese standards, natural lighting is divided into groups of solutions: Top lighting, side lighting and mixed lighting (both top and side).

Natural lighting through glass helps people to take the initiative by factors such as weather, temperature... Photo: Ha Thanh

Natural lighting through glass helps people take the initiative by factors such as weather, temperature… Photo: Ha Thanh


Natural light gives the best quality, no other artificial light can match. It highlights the shapes, architectural lines, creates depth for space, creates aesthetic and emotional values ​​for people in front of the architecture. Natural light changes by hour, by day, by season, by weather… creating different states and shades, extremely rich and diverse. In addition, natural light makes the air and environment fresh – dry – clean, creating a comfortable and pleasant psychology, providing a lot of energy for people in activities.

The biggest benefit of natural light for buildings is that it’s free. The construction of the building does not cost the technical infrastructure of the relevant lighting system (such as artificial lighting). Of course, to effectively exploit natural light, it is necessary to do in-depth research for the design stage, related to architectural solutions and materials.

Currently, in many sets of standards for Green Architecture, Eco-Architecture; Natural lighting is an integral part.

The inadequacies

Sunlight is a special light source, unstable and human can only receive and adjust (if any) at the receiving place. It is one of the basic characteristics and also the cause of some inadequacies. Most of it is the improper light reception, incompatible with the human activity environment in the architecture.

To regulate light, some projects use the solution of using brick holes, in order to minimize the negative impact of excessive light.  Photo: Ha Thanh

To regulate light, some projects use the solution of using brick holes, in order to minimize the negative impact of excessive light. Image: Ha Thanh

Having natural lighting for each space is basically good, but if it’s too bright or too low, it’s inconvenient. Too much light can cause glare, affect living and working activities, and harm health. Expanding the enclosed structure, using a lot of transparent glass to catch natural light also means that it is possible to catch hot sunlight inside the house, or onto the glass surface – creating the greenhouse effect, increase the ambient temperature in the building.

Light and sunlight, if it shines deep into the interior for a long time, can affect and damage some materials and furniture. There are also cases where the space is designed too dependent on natural lighting, but in bad weather conditions, natural light is weak, so the area is underexposed. Or in some special cases, the exploitation of natural lighting causes bad consequences such as the reflection of light through the smooth surface of the material, reflecting to unnecessary places, causing adverse effects on the environment. active and aesthetic.

When the light source cannot be adjusted, it can only be adjusted in the light receiving place. In order for natural lighting to be effective and to avoid inadequacies from natural light sources, this factor must be focused on in the design, construction, as well as in the use and operation of the building.

In each space with different nature of use, or in each time, a light source of different intensity is required; Therefore, there should be solutions to regulate light, “light filter” accordingly. These are flexible structures to block light, which are blue system, flower wall, curtain, green tree…; It is also possible to use materials of the same color to match. Then, natural lighting will be effective and minimize negative effects.

Architect Nguyen Tran Duc Anh

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