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Diwali, the five-day Hindu festival of light, kicks off this weekend. The holiday—the biggest in India—celebrates the inner light that protects us from darkness. Indeed, light is something that nearly every culture and religion, from all across the world, prizes and honors: A universal symbol of goodness and purity, as well as knowledge, light not only shields us from the evils of the world, but also from the elements—from the cold, and the (literal) dark. It helps us find our way when we are lost; and it allows us to read or work or commune with one another well after the sun goes down.
Obviously, illumination is important in architecture. (You can't very well make a building without thinking of how it will be lit and get away with it.) But, aside from its basic architectural functions, light has more mercurial benefits as well. Think of the colors alighting the top of the Empire State Building at night, or the twinkling lights glittering from San Francisco's Bay Bridge. These examples not only help us navigate the streets or highways safely—they also rescue us from the banal, transforming our commutes into adventures and our locales into minor wonderlands.
Now, with LEDs, solar power, and all sorts of innovations transforming the field of lighting, architects have more opportunities than ever to make a strong statement with illumination—improving visibility, moods, and quality of life. Here are a few examples of projects with dazzling displays of light.
Øvre Forsland og Bjørnstokk Hydraulic Power Stations
Designed by Stein Hamre Arkitektkontor
For more architecture + lighting, check out how LEDs are transforming the skylines of global cities and the new lava lamp architecture.