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Project investigators: Professor Koen Steemers and Ms Mary Ann Steane

Research staff: Mr Mike Baker, Dr Nick Baker, Ms Anne Dye and Dr Katerina Parpairi and Ms Oriel Prizeman (PhD candidate)

Advisory panel: Professor Peter Carolin, Professor Dean Hawkes and Ms Clair Wright

Funding source: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Design always involves making choices and identifying opportunities and thus the best buildings are arguably ones in which the various roles of architecture (social, environmental, functional, aesthetic, etc.) are positively combined and mutually inclusive. Yet current lighting design guidance, with its overemphasis on metrics, generally fails to take this into account. This study, whose intention was to carry out a detailed appraisal of the qualitative aspects of lighting in one particular building type, looked to redress this imbalance. In reviewing the lighting conditions considered appropriate for libraries alongside the visual environments that have actually been provided by a series of prize-winning buildings, it seeks to reveal the creative potential of designing with light.

“Designing with light in libraries” was a major 3-year research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The AHRC funds postgraduate training and research in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. The quality and range of research supported not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. For further information on the AHRC, please see the website