The Daylight Award 2022 celebrates daylight in research and architecture

“The laureates exemplify common themes. Not only do they represent international excellence in daylight research and practice, but they also embody a generous and humanistic spirit regarding the celebration of daylight. The contribution of daylight to enhance quality of life - even to celebrate life - is an intrinsic quality of their work. It is remarkable how they have applied this humanistic approach with a depth of knowledge and breadth of intentions that belies their humble and detached vision of their works’ importance” – states the jury.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley Mcnamara (Grafton Architects). Photo: The Daylight Award. 

The Daylight Award for Architecture: Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Grafton Architects

Grafton Architects have mastered the use of daylight throughout their wide and exceptionally varied design production. They use natural light to differentiate and articulate spaces of different importance, functional purpose and experiential atmosphere. Daylight is employed in their design process as an integrated and irreplaceable quality, along with the spatial arrangement, structural frame and technical systems.
Their skill to direct daylight both vertically and horizontally into often thick and layered building volumes is remarkable. Natural illumination heightens the working conditions and sensory qualities of the spaces, instead of being merely an element of composition or aestheticization. Daylight emphasizes and celebrates the main spaces in their buildings. Natural light in Grafton Architects’ projects has a relaxed, generous, and calm presence.

“We think it is wonderful that there is an award related to daylight. This award reminds us that light is one of the key materials in architecture. What is amazing about natural light is that is so varying across the world. And it is kind of amazing because you learn each time” – says Shelley McNamara.

About Grafton Architects

Grafton Architects were founded in 1978 by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. They graduated from the School of Architecture at University College Dublin in 1974, where they taught from 1976-2002 and were appointed as Adjunct Professors in 2015. Their international academic roles have included: Visiting Professors at EPFL Lausanne, the Kenzo Tange Chair at GSD Harvard, the Louis Kahn Chair at Yale, and they are currently Professors at the Accademia di Architettura, Mendrisio, Switzerland. They are Fellows of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI), International Honorary Fellows of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and elected members of Aosdána, the eminent Irish art organization. Grafton Architects have won numerous architectural awards for their work including the RIBA’s International Prize, Stirling Prize and Gold Medal. In 2020, Yvonne and Shelley were selected as the Pritzker Prize Laureates - the highest international honor for architects.

Anna Wirz-Jutsice. Photo: The Daylight Award 

The Daylight Award for Research: Anna Wirz-Justice

Anna Wirz-Justice has undertaken pioneering research on how human circadian rhythms and sleep are regulated by light. Defining the key parameters of how light acts as a biological stimulus, including the importance of when we see light, how long we see it, and of what intensity and colour spectrum.

“The Daylight Award for Daylight Research is a great surprise and a great honour, for which I am extremely grateful, since it highlights our field of chronobiology, and the growing knowledge of how crucial daylight is for our health and wellbeing. I have had the fortune to live and work in an extraordinary era where the science of biological rhythms came of age” – says Anna Wirz-Justice the occasion of receiving the award.

About Anna Wirz-Justice

Anna Wirz-Justice is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatric Neurobiology at the University of Basel, and former Head of the Centre for Chronobiology at the Psychiatric University Clinic in Basel, where she built her distinguished career. Anna has published over 450 research papers and review articles, a main focus being on light therapy for winter depression and sleep disorders. Anna was born in New Zealand, where she undertook her BSc and MSc, before moving to London for her PhD, with research fellowships in Paris and at NIMH in Bethesda MD, USA. She has remained very actively engaged in many scientific boards and societies, including as Chair of the Chrono History Committee of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, as Board Member of the Centre for Environmental Therapeutics and as co-founder and former Steering Committee member of the Daylight Academy.

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Emil Kaas Rasmussen
Communications Adviser, THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS
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