“The month was March, and the weather damp, cloudy, and cold. The sun not rising before half-past five, the night perspective looked sufficiently long at half-past twelve: which was about my time for confronting it.” — Charles Dickens Night Walks (1861)
For me, this work shows how architecture interrelates itself to darkness. It is the representation of the contrast between light and dark. The proposition of the physical is divergent: multiple volumes can become one silhouette, reflections appear. The relation of man and its surroundings transforms by dark. The darkness is a the time when air and earth fuse together into a single uniform plane. This is not a homogeneous face as it contains various nuances and depths. It possesses a dynamic quality on the position of the physical opposite the architecture, the architecture facing the darkness. The physical versus the ephemeral. Not the wall but the artificial light turns into the border. Or is darkness the enclosure? I am fascinated by the form of this territory that forms a space. Or is it the other way around?
In architecture, there has always been an extensive research how (artificial) light affects the built environment. Light can be used as a decisive element in the rhythm of architecture (Louis Kahn)1 or as an approach to design a building from within, as carving out the darkness whereby light penetrates like a new mass in this space (Peter Zumthor)2. It is precisely here that I want to look for the opposition of this principle. How can darkness shape architecture by sculpting out light by darkness? An antithetical reasoning that allows a research on how we perceive architecture in the dark. Is there a possibility of making the visible invisible – by means of darkness – and the other way around? Fragments become a whole, a whole becomes a fragment.
For this purpose we use an in-depth design-based research that explores these contrasts of dark and light. Exactly exploring how the absence of natural light can have an impact on the architecture, the reality. Triggering our awareness in architecture of time, day, place and our subconscious mind of being connected to something bigger: the climate, the earth and the universe3. Darkness is mass: the more mass, the more darkness, the more matter, the more darkness, the more matter absorbs lights. Light and darkness are each other’s opposite, although they’re connected in time.