Last semester my studio took a field trip to the Lakewood Mausoleum in Minneapolis. From the moment I stepped inside, I fell in love. I was taken back by the luminescent light that gently filled the hall. My curiosity sparked and I could not wait to find out what each room looked like once I turned each corner.
It was like every room was a different experience. Light, material and view were captured in the most beautiful way all in-sync together. The skylights appeared edge-less just as the James Turrell skyscape filling the room with glowing light and appearing as if the sky were part of the building. If a skylight was not given, a framed view of the landscape was as light flooded into the space. Every path of light led my eye to either the marble floors, the granite walls or the landscape outside. Light connected every part of this building.
The Lakewood Mausoleum brought my understanding of light within space and form to a whole new level. To be honest, I never looked in to how the skylights gave that illusion or luminescence until today. I am even in Mary’s studio this semester. I cannot believe it myself that it took me so long to do but I looked up plans and sections of the mausoleum and finally understood the architectural secrets of the building.
The smallest moves create the biggest experiences. Sometimes we think that our design project has to have complicated ideas or structure or something of that sort, but generally simplicity is all we need and what we always forget. The mausoleum reminds us of that. Those small moves are not complicated but simple and they make the biggest result. A student can learn about light over and over again, modeling it physically and digitally but until s/he experiences the architecture of light in person, that is a whole different story.