The NightHouse

In collaboration with Cam Jarvis
Entry for 2018 Architecture Foundation - Antepavilion

Artificial light provides many benefits to society: better opportunities for recreation, opening up the social potential of urban spaces, improving safety from crime and road accidents and defining the identity of our urban areas; Artificial light allows more people to engage in activities at night that they would otherwise not have access to.

Sky Glow is the most pervasive form of light pollution created by artificial light, and can affect areas many miles away.

An absence of darkness: Artificial light makes it almost impossible for people living in cities like London to experience natural night-time lighting conditions. Light pollution is not only a nuisance in residential areas, but it can be harmful to wildlife. “Wherever artificial light floods into the natural world there is the potential for some aspect of life and its rhythms – migration, reproduction, feeding – to be affected” (The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, 2009).

The best use of artificial light is about getting the right light, in the right place and providing light at the right time. The Night House aims to raise awareness of the negative impacts of light pollution, and teaches us how we can all help to protect our night sky, even in cities.

Materials

Light pollution is exacerbated in city centres. Even if every lighting installation were designed to the highest standards, considerable light pollution would still occur because of the effects of indirect reflection from road and building surfaces – all of which, unless they are completely matt black, have some degree of reflectance.

Through the relatively simple mechanism of directing light more accurately to where it is needed, we can minimise the adverse side-effects of this night-time installation.

Projection

The main feature of the Night House is an upwards projection on to the suspended ceiling plane: visitors can sit and look up at video content which envisions the night sky as it might be seen in one of the UK’s Dark Sky Preserves (an area surrounding a park or observatory, restricting artificial light pollution). The content is a mix of actual footage and animation. A hole in the projection surface provides visitors with a constant comparison to actual London night Sky Glow.




Contruction

A simple construction made entirely from timber. The frame is a radial array of timber posts supporting an interior bench surface and the top projection plane. The posts also support a ply skin, enclosing the pavilion. This plywood skin is coated in a recycled, matt black rubber sheet. The projector is housed by a central block inside the pavilion, which can be used as a table for group workshops or talks. The frame is collapsible and modular, making it simple and easy to re-assemble at future events.