The summer solstice arrives on Friday, which means it's time to break out the beach gear and the barbecues. Of course, the solstice is an important astronomical event marking the point in the sun's travels when it is furthest north of the equator; so then, it makes sense that buildings, both ancient and modern, might mark it as well.
The Temple of Karnak at Luxor, Egypt. At sunrise on the winter solstice, the sun illuminates the entire central aisle of the temple, marking the beginning of longer days. Image source.
Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, England. Modern-day druids gather at Stonehenge on the summer solstice to mark the alignment of the sun with the standing stones. Image source.
James Turrell, Aten Reign, 2013
Daylight and LED light, dimensions variable © James Turrell
Installation view: James Turrell, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 21–September 25, 2013
Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
Studio Gang: Solar Carve Tower, New York. This building preserves direct sunlight on the High Line by getting carved according to the sun's angles. Image source.
Chankillo, Peru. This series of 13 towers marks the progress of the sun throughout the year. Image source.
Chichen Itza, Mexico. At the equinoxes, perfectly aligned shadows transform the stair into a serpent. Image source.
Dzibilchaltun, Mexico. The door of this temple perfectly frames the rising sun on the equinoxes. Image source.
Getty Research Library by Richard Meier, Los Angeles, California. On the summer solstice, the central portion of a skylight perfectly aligns with a glass plate on the deepest below-grade floor of the library. Image source.