Light and Space: an encounter with God

--Originally published at Identidad digital

NOTE: While I was studying my bachelor degree I developed a project based in Tadao Ando’s Azuma house and the theory of “Phenomenon of space” developed by Norberg Schulz. Unfortunately I no longer possess any images of the project I mention however I consider the following essay an interesting exercise, hence I decided to publish it on this site.

Light and Space: an encounter with God

“The creation of space in architecture is simply the condensation and purification of the power of light”.                                                                               Tadao Ando

Based on the theory of the Phenomenon of Space written by Christian Norberg-Schulz I developed a project that will work as a tool to have a deeper encounter with God that will be reached with light and dimensions.

Norberg-Schulz states that architecture cannot be “measured” by scientific methods, architecture has as many variables as everyday life has, in fact they are very related, each space created is designed for certain purpose and this places are quite different and unique; they have a specific character. People have tried to see architecture with a scientific approach, however that may not be the most appropriate scheme because science tries to reach a neutral answer, by doing it the matter of study is synthesized and some variables are lost, in the case of architecture, these are the base of its meaning. Literature and language have been helpful elements to approach everyday life and architecture, but a phenomenology of place could work better. Architecture is about places that have character and meaning, each place is different, for example: a temple has to be solemn.

As we can observe architecture is not only about the physical appearance, it is the experience perceived not only by the sight but the other four senses too, architecture has to make people feel something. Based on Norberg schulz’s theory I developed a project that consists on creating a space that will work as a resource to have a closer meeting with God, he is everywhere, off course, but the character of this place leads the user to a more vivid experience, because all the senses perceive certain elements that reminds them that the human being has always felt the need of believing in something bigger, in an all mighty creator responsible of all the marvelous things that surround us and that cannot be explained easily.

The most important thing of this place is not the physical place but the feelings that it evokes in the user, as Peter Zumthor observes in Barragán’s architecture: “Barragán’s house is a potent reminder that what is truly important is nothing like so tangible, but has to do rather with the qualities of sanctuary, surprise and visual comfort.” (Zumthor, 2002) The intention of this place is precisely to make the user feel a connection with God. The place is planned to be a one-to-one meeting, this encounter will lead the users to be in touch with themselves.

The space is based in the Azuma house by Tadao Ando, it is divided in three sections of 4.7 meters each. My project maintains that rhythm, and its proportions are based in multiples of three. It consist in three volumes, the first one in 10 m tall and a door of three meters, it has no windows. The second one has several windows of .30 x 4.7, and the last one has a window formed by a vertical line and a horizontal line.

With the help of light and dimensions I wanted to create a certain atmosphere in the space. When people enter to the place they feel tiny and lost, because of dimensions and the absence of light, when they walk and get to the second volume they are able to see a bit of light and the volume is lower, which decreases the feeling of being worthless and tiny and in the third one people are able to find light in God.

In this project light and dimensions have an important role, because with these elements users will feel certain emotions that give the space a meaning. This space is not only perceived though the eyes but also with all the senses.



“Luis Barragan.” Luis Barragan. N.p., 2002. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <;.

“Architectural Design.” Tadao Ando – Architectural Design. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <;.

Nesbitt, Kate (Editor). 1996. “Theorizing a New Agenda

for Architecture. An Anthology of Architectural Theory”.

New York: Princeton Architectural Press.