The Power of LWA

on August 21, 2020

Have you ever been in a space so good that you blackout momentarily because you subconsciously experience a flight to another dimension? Yeah, me too. In white, well-lit spaces.

My affinity for light, white, and airy spaces // objects // experiences is not a secret by any means. For convenience, I will begin to refer to the concept of such spaces as “LWA”. White or light-colored objects reflect the light of most wavelengths, while black or dark-colored objects absorb many wavelengths of light energy. This occurrence means that white surfaces heat up much slower than black surfaces, creating cooler volumes. With the color white being the most reflective color in the visible spectrum, multiple reflections off of several surfaces in white (and light-colored) spaces frequently occur. Light is what activates the space. Undeniably, not all architecture is made equally. A well-lit, white box does not have the same essence as a well-designed LWA space. However, the formula of ethereal spaces is interpolated by highly reflective, well-lit areas and relatively cool temperature environments.

The comfortability of spatial conditions is directly correlated to the emotional and psychological well-being of individuals. Deprivation, or limiting, of the basic components of quality life through architectural moments severely impact the inhabitants of the architecture. For the human condition to be satisfied, a handful of criteria must be met. The most important of these being clean water, food, human waste management, sunlight, and human interaction, to name a few. Building code mandates every architect to build spaces which include running water, plumbing, basic natural light requirements, etc. Building codes are implemented as a means to assure basic requirements are met, but humans need more than the bare minimum to feel safe, happy, and valued. The human body needs to sense and experience the light changes in the day and night to regulate its circadian rhythms properly. These rhythms are responsible for affecting the sleep cycle, but also metabolism and mental health. Upon assessing the effect natural light has on the sense of sight and humans individually, there is known to be a link between Seasonal Affective Disorder/depression and the amount of sunlight the person is exposed to. Usually, the less sunlight the individual is exposed to, the higher the risk of depressive disorders, which are treated with proton light therapy. The implementation of LWA not only has a visually appealing aesthetic; it facilitates the dignity of life.

Now, while the term LWA refers to well-lit spaces, it is also synonymous with “architecture you can eat”. Architecture that is so light in composition and airy in form. The physical delicacy of the LWA form creates the “airiness” that brings light into the space while also providing visual interest. Coupled with the presence of soft, warm light throughout the space, the articulation of LWA in both form and experience has almost universal applicability for design thinking as a whole. Pretty cool, right?