“Architecture is the learned game; correct and magnificent of forms assembled in the light” – Le Corbusier
Jørn Utzon is an internationally recognized Danish architect by one of his masterpieces: the Opera of Sydney. He was a master in the management of natural lighting in architecture. And with his works, he teaches us that light creates an effect, a sensation, an expression in the people who use these spaces. That there is a strong relationship between the human body, light, and space.
A few years ago, as part of my master’s degree at the Aarhus School of Architecture, I had the opportunity to visit his house Can Lis in Mallorca, Spain. Can Lis was built in 1972 as an ideal refugee during his vacation in Porto Petro and is situated on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The chosen place referred to his text “Platforms and plateaus” as a result of his trip to the Mayan pyramids of Mexico in 1949.
The orientations of Can Lis pavilions overlook the Mediterranean and suggest the movement of the sun. Also, life inside the house follows a route throughout the day, which seems to follow the path traced by the sun.
It has carpentry windows mounted on the outside of the walls, which are not visible from the inside, which increases the effect of light, blurring the boundaries between interior and exterior (light and shadow). In addition, the main construction material was a local sandstone that changes color from gold to pink while the sun crosses the house.
Our assignment was to study the effects of light on architecture through analog representation, using different tools and forms of expression to experience light and transition from the exterior to the interior as the day progresses. And thus, understand light as a design material that allows creating a spatial narrative, and how it defines rhythm, calm and activity in a specific space, only controlling the distribution of light and its influence. Architectural lighting can emphasize shapes, textures, colors, sizes or the opposite.
If you are passionate about architecture and are traveling through Mallorca, check their website here to have the opportunity to visit this masterpiece.
Illustrations: Fiorella Heraldez Madsen
Photos: Fiorella Heraldez Madsen