Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

a life in architecture

  • Comment

Lighting designer Jonathan Speirs has a list of 'must see' buildings.

One on the list he has now ticked off is Louis Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum at Fort Worth, Texas (above), which surpassed his expectations when he saw it - 'particularly the way the light filters in and reflects off the concrete vaulting. As the daylight changes outside, the lighting inside also changes - that is something which normally we don't allow to happen.'

For Speirs the museum is an excellent example of a collaboration between Kahn and his lighting designer, Richard Kelly.

'Some of the equipment that would be used today would be a little bit smaller, but for something that was designed between 1968 and 1972 it is still outstanding.'

Speirs makes no apology for mentioning Le Corbusier's church at Ronchamp, although it is a clichÚ in any discussion of architectural lighting. 'Light, colour and architecture are integrated there, and the glass was hand-painted by Corb.' For part of his childhood, Speirs lived in the Midland Hotel, Morecambe, which his parents ran in the 1960s.

Revisiting Oliver Hill's masterpiece as a student, he observed 'that the lighting wasn't really noticeable in the building', an approach that exemplifies Speirs'own lighting philosophy:

'It's about light, not light fittings.

The most successful buildings are the ones where there's almost a seamless design approach between the various specialisms, be they structural design or lighting design.'

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.