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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Light is the true source of space; if we switch off these lights, or when the sun sets and it gets dark, space vanishes, that is to say it vanishes physically, in the sense that there is no more depth, there is no longer a measure of spatiality; and therefore we can say that light is the source of space. As such, it is an important element, still free - they don’t make you pay for it - that shapes man’s living space. From this perspective, light is a virtual element, it isn’t physical, but it becomes important for spatial organisation, for geometric organisation, and even for functional organisation. Actually, how does light express itself?

Skip to 1 minute and 21 seconds Light is expressed through the materials that receive light, acquiring therefore their suppleness, or it is reflected through geometry, through design, through equilibriums, through pauses. Light is among the important instruments for the architect. The materials are all…, the materials can be imagined from the more natural ones, like stone - pieces of rock, to brick, which is clay baked with fire, to the primitive materials, the antique ones, or wood, and so on all the other, so to say, aggregates that have been artificially created by man to ensure that they reflect the static nature of resistance of natural materials, of which stone is the leading one; stone works with gravity, it has therefore its own weight, and stone has, let’s say, also a solidity that to a certain extent can resist beyond modern technologies, which are reinforced concrete, which is nothing more than crushed stone with cement and lime, which has a greater resistance than just plain stone.

Light and the architect's materials

Interviewer’s question: “How does the architect use the light to draw?”

In this video, Mario Botta explains the role of the light in the architect’s work: light is among the important instruments for the architect, as it is a source of space. Light is expressed through the materials that receive it, acquiring therefore their suppleness.

What is your favorite material and why? Find an image of an architectural work in your favorite material, post it in Padlet, and explain it to the other participants (please remember to add your name to the post).

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This video is from the free online course:

Mario Botta: To Be an Architect

Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI)

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