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Our favourite buildings that let in light

It’s safe to say 99% of our clients mention wanting more natural light when we first speak to them.

Moving natural light into the heart of any building is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it also improves comfort and reduces energy use.

It’s a subject Alan chats about in detail in the latest issue of Houseproud Stamford & Rutland Magazine and inspired this month’s theme.

An Turas, Tiree, Scotland – Sutherland Hussey Harris

I love the elegant simplicity of this shelter near the port on the island of Tiree. The structure focuses your attention on different elements of the surrounding as you walk through: the sky, the earth bank and finally the sea. All the while drawing your eye towards the carefully framed view at the end. [Alan]

House in a Garden, London – Gianni Botsford Architects

I’m really interested in the way that light can shape the design of a building. Gianni Botsford’s designs frequently incorporate careful modelling of the movement of light around a site and then use this to maximum effect. Often this is about bringing daylight into a complicated and overlooked site without compromising views to and from neighbouring buildings, and sometimes the result is a bold expression of intent – as with this design for the House in a Garden. I don’t always like the materials used in the designs – although in this case the glulam roof structure is a big hit – the attraction is the set of ideas behind them. [Claire]

Meigetsuin Temple, Kamakura, Japan

Love at first sight! This single circular window brings life to the space. It’s not about the quantity of light but about the quality of light, something Japanese architecture is really good at. This place is definitely on my list for my next visit to Japan. [Julie]

Paul Testa Architecture offices, Sheffield

I don’t know if its cheating or not…but I have been caught in the act, on many occasion, Instagramming the daylight that spills onto the floors, stairs, cupboards and walls of our office from the big beautiful windows we have! They also keep us toasty in the low winter sun. [Liam]

Administration Building for the Council of Castilla y León, Salamanca, Spain – Sánchez Gil Arquitectos

Whilst this may just be a basement car park in a council building, they’ve managed to get plenty of light down through a circular courtyard. Together with the exposed concrete, it makes for plenty of moody photographs like this one. [Tom]

The Mackintosh, Glasgow School of Art, Scotland – Charles Mackintosh

It may be gone and this time for good, but as a relic to another time, I don’t think many discussions about how to bring light into a building can be had without reference to the greatest. No, not Ali, but Macintosh, and specifically the Glasgow School of Art – for those still in mourning I apologise. [Marcus]

Underhill, Holme, West Yorkshire – Arthur Quarmby

Part home, part James Bond location. Underhill was Britain’s first modern earth-sheltered house and skirts the edge of the Peak District. I only recently discovered it on an episode of Grand Designs and I’ve never seen a house like it. Although it was designed in 1969, to me, it feels timeless. [Fera]

 The Chapel at Ronchamp, France – Le Corbusier

Sadly, I’ve never managed to make it but it’s high up on my Architectural bucket list. The drama that Le Corbusier has managed to deliver with the natural lighting in this space is phenomenal. If the title “in praise of shadows” was written for a space, this would have been it. [Paul]

Keen to read more? Why not check out the Our Favourites archive.