Aditi Agrawal

Roof Daylighting for Visual Comfort in Museums: Daylight strategies for preserving artworks while enhancing the visitor experience

MUSEUMS PLAY A crucial role in preserving and displaying cultural artefacts. It can consume significant amounts of energy to maintain an internal environment. The use of lighting accounts for 20% of this energy consumption. Museums generally operate on a 10:00 to 17:00 hour cycle. Hence, incorporating carbon- and cost-free daylight is imperative for creating a low-energy museum.

However, the idea of lighting a museum with daylight resonates as a complex concept. The research is undertaken with three distinct and applicable case studies based in London to help understand the use of daylight to its maximum potential. The primary case study, Victoria and Albert Museum, is selected for its varied daylight spaces. Useful Daylight Illuminance (UDI) tests are carried out for the entire year, but with the help of a typical sunny summer day, the study evaluates the extremities of light in a day and the impact of roof daylighting on visual comfort. It brings along the intangible complexities in a space which include user experience, perception and visual comfort, investigated through designed questionnaires, observations at site visits and calibration of luminance levels respectively. Based on literature reviews, fieldwork and the comparison of simulation results and iterations, this work proposes design recommendations for optimised space dimensions of museums, roof types and their glazing ratios, and brightness and contrast values. The research concludes the implementation of an adaptable hybrid roof daylighting strategy is pragmatic for preserving artworks while enhancing the visitor experience.

MORE is a part of Open Studio project run by the School of Architecture + Cities at the University of Westminster to make its design, research and practice-based work available online while it is happening.

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