Daylight Award honors architecture and research

On the UNESCO International Day of Light, The Daylight Award announces the 2020 Laureates: Juhai Leiviskä for his architecture, Russell Foster for his research, and exceptionally for this year The Daylight Award is given to Henry Plummer for his Lifetime Achievement

Since 1980, The Daylight Award has recognized prominent practitioners in the fields of daylight in architecture and daylight research.

The award is given every second year by the non-profit, private charitable foundations, VILLUM FONDEN, VELUX FONDEN and VELUX STIFTUNG. Henry Plummer receives the award for lifetime achievement by recording daylight phenomena in his brilliant photography and writing. The extraordinary prize is given only this year, to celebrate the 40 years anniversary of the very first Daylight Award laureate, Jørn Utzon.

“While laureate Russell Foster studies the scientific ground of the impact and significance of light on human behaviour, health and mental life, laureates Juha Leiviskä and Henry Plummer approach the effects and meanings of daylight intuitively through architectural design, photographic expression and verbal mediation of these experiences. Whether elucidating the neural effects of light or invoking the poetic essence of light, the laureates of the 2020 Daylight Award demonstrate to us the power of natural light” states the jury.

The Daylight Award 2020 for Architecture: Juha Leiviskä, architect and designer

Juha Leiviskä is one of the most significant contemporary architects in Finland. In his works, he demonstrates a unique ability to make daylight an integral part of his buildings, in a way that combines emotional delight, functional appropriateness, and a delicate yet wonderful presence of light as part of one’s spatial experience.

“Juhas light does not only illuminate surfaces, it appears to originate and exist vibrantly in the architectural space itself,” states the jury.

The Daylight Award 2020 for Research: Russell Foster, neuroscientist

Professor Fosters interest is in understanding of how the circadian rhythm and the sleep-wake rhythm are generated and modulated. His most recognized scientific discovery was that the eye contains a specialized cell, a light sensor that aligns the body clock and the sleep-wake rhythm to the day-night cycle.

 “Russell Foster´s clinical studies in humans address important questions regarding light. How does morning light influence sleep? Why is light at night bad for health? And ultimately the answers to such questions have impacted the medical world in a variety of domains including sleep medicine, psychiatry, neurology, geriatrics, ophthalmology, immunology and even cancer medicine” the jury states.

The Daylight Award 2020 for Lifetime Achievement: Henry Plummer, architect, writer and photographer

Henry Plummer is an architectural academic who has devoted his career to the research of daylight in architecture. Emeritus Professor Henry Plummer taught architectural history and design at the Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He received his MArch from MIT, studied light-art with artist, photographer, educator and art theorist György Kepes, and was a photographic apprentice to Minor White.

On his work with commmunicating architecture through words and photography Henry Plummer says:

“Words examine ideas and thoughts, observations and analysis about light, while images present the phenomena themselves. It is with this in mind that the photographs are intended not as textual illustrations, but rather to form their own mode of enquiry, one that tries to carefully examine the metaphysical aspects of architecture whose significance lies, to a large extent, beyond the domain of words.”