Atmosphere of Place

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Abstract

This study aims to observe how natural light is a strong element in creating an “atmosphere of place.” The study observes the relationship between natural light, shadows, the environment, architecture, interior spaces, and meaningful objects around the home and how these relationships engender an atmosphere of place. The theoretical perspectives of great architects and architectural theorists such as Louis Kahn, Tadao Ando, Peter Zumthor, JuhaniPallasmaa and leading phenomenologists and philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, Merleau-Ponti, Gaston Bachelard, the leading Japanese poet, TanizakiJun’ichiro, the eminent geographer, Yi-Fu Tuan, and others will be reviewed to gain an insight. The study will be recorded through photographs that will then be analyzed, and my views will be shared. The home under consideration and that is to be explored is the author’s home, which is located in Nonthaburi, an outskirt of Bangkok, Thailand. It is a piece of contemporary tropical architecture in a serene environment. It is rooted in its historical context and contains many meaningful objects that are considered in the study. My observations reveal different atmospheres such as that found when awakening in the morning, which is characterized by a fresh and energetic atmosphere, the tranquil atmosphere found when light permeates the home evenly during the day, and the mysterious atmosphere which is found at sunset. One of the most magnificent qualities of natural light is its changing characteristics caused by movement in nature, such as clouds, the wind, trees, and water ripples, which are then reflected onto the interior spaces. I suggest that not only is the choice of architectural and appropriate interior openings a major factor in creating a pleasant atmosphere but that good planning in terms of the pathway of the sun’s rays before reaching the interior spaces can be used to alter the surrounding environment and interior details such as objects, materials, and colors, all of which can have an artful interplay with sunlight. Light gives meaningful objects existence by celebrating the uniqueness of each object very gracefully. Shadows embrace light and objects by gradually revealing themselves in very soft and gentle patterns by gradually increasing dramatic contrasts before fading away. Such profound effects expand our thinking and imagination. The study can be summarized by suggesting that natural light is the originator of all relationships that create an atmosphere of place. In fact, a totality of elements in the form of natural light, shadows, the environment, objects (including architecture and interior spaces), meaning, and time (history, day, and night) are the strong elements that together engender an “atmosphere of place.”