The aim of the “Living in Light BOX” is to demonstrate daylight in architecture, together with the “summer garden” concept developed under the Valby project. On the other hand, the BOX also demonstrates different “sustainable” building installation technologies, such as solar power and heat combined with ventilation etc., thus demonstrating a standard called “Active House”. The BOX is therefore a 1:1 technical experiment, which explores daylight together with solar energy in architecture.
Living with and in daylight is an important parameter in Nordic architecture, certainly due to the dark and cold climate at wintertime, where access to daylight is scarce but vital for people - as a “giver of life”, and as such to be harnessed according to the life in the building. The BOX therefore, as the architect puts it: “In the BOX, daylight is set as a functional, changeable aesthetic – like layers of light, and as a floating border between inside and outside”.
LIVING IN - THE EXPERIENCE
On the outside, the Box might seem closed upon itself: all black and closed on its long sides. However, being in the inside, the sensation of presence of light and the outside world, is omnipresent.
This sensation is partly ensured by the “summer garden”. In summertime, the end of the room on one of the short sides can be utilized as an open air area, due to a fully permeable façade system made of two different glass façades. The summer façade is an inner glass façade with a high u-value, and the winter façade an exterior glass façade, with a low u-value. In summer, the exterior glass façade is opened, and the inner glass façade thus functions as an active façade, according to the weather. When the inner glass façade is opened, the “summer garden” is introduced as a covered outdoor space, where the cover also functions as a horizontal solar shading system. During winter, the outer façade is closed and the inner glass facade is opened. In this way, the whole space is useful as heated space.
In addition to the summer garden, little to no artificial daylight is required during the day. Using advanced simulations, the Box has been developed to achieve optimal daylight conditions during the day and the seasons, also simulating different space usages in the Box. New roof lights using special curved glass technologies add to the access to daylight, also offering natural ventilation and an architecturally adapted solution to the Box.
The Box is also developed as to “sense” daylight throughout its daily use. Based on the size and proportions of a smaller apartment, the physical walls in the Box are, as an experiment, replaced by walls of curtains that divide the room into smaller spaces, as “flexible moments” where daylight is put into play and staged in varying and flexible space scenarios. The transparent curtains thus filter daylight, without blocking it. Features such as kitchen, bathroom, and various technical installations are assembled in the wall along the one side of the room, leaving a large long, flexible room for usage. The mirror wall along the opposite side draws the daylight into the room from the top and the short sides.
THE CONCEPT AND ITS USE
The Box strives at simple but attractive configurable solutions, suitable for any specific conditions regarding daylight and whished for indoor/outdoor relations. As such, the concept can be modelled for experimenting and demonstrating different daylight scenarios, space usages and indoor/outdoor relations across different buildings to be built or refurbished in an urban environment.
The Box was first exhibited at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation during May and June 2017, where a Nordic conference also took place.
Since, the Box has been renamed “Lysboksen” or the “Lightbox”, and is reused as a central part of the urban renewal plan of the “Kulbane” district in Copenhagen. The inhabitants of the “Kulbane” district, especially children and young people, have long been missing common spaces where to share common activities and create new communities. This is realized through the “Boksbyen” (the “Boxcity”), placed in the Kulbane Park in vicinity of the housing area.
In this context, the “Lysboksen” is utilized as a “mini” community center, where volunteer work and the involvement of the inhabitants of the district are coordinated. In this urban renewal project, the “Lysboksen” is the first lighthouse project among a wide range of different construction projects aiming at building common, neutral meeting places, where inhabitants can grow new communities across social backgrounds and generations. Here, the design of the Box with focus on daylight and a “floating border” between inside and outside helps create a unique sense of inclusiveness and openness.