Light as a Material

In my landscape architecture class last semester we would take weekly field trips throughout the Twin Cities. One week we visited the Walker Art Center and another we visited Lakewood Cemetery.  During this week’s guest lecture, Mary Guzowski helped me understand the design of two of the spaces better.

At the Walker we took a look at James Turrell’s skyspace: Sky Pesher. The day that we visited the skyspace, the sky was complete overcast. Upon walking entering the space, I was overwhelmed with the amount of diluted white light. What I mean by that is that the light that fills the space wasn’t harsh or bright; however, until you looked up at the aperture. It was unreal to look at, also kind of strange. When you looked up there was an absence of space that was just vivid and white. It was hard to believe that the space above was the sky, when all that appeared was a white surface. I have not been back since last spring, but I think that it would be interesting to view the Sky Pesher at different variations of the weather to see how it effects the feel of the space.

At the Lakewood Cemetery we visited the addition to the Lakewood Mausoleum. It was a strange experience analyzing the space without being there to actually visit or commemorate anyone. The space was filled with windows and focused on them being the main source of light. I believe that natural light is used as a therapeutic and calming factor for people visiting the mausoleum. Each room had a unique shaped skylight and the exterior that faces the courtyard had floor to ceiling glass windows. While visiting the space I felt welcomed and relaxed. It didn’t exactly feel like a sacred space and maybe that was due to visiting it with a class full of people.

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