You know the experience of going from the sunny outside into a dark interior. For a brief moment, you are blind. The transition from sunlight to artificial light is dramatic and our retina needs a few seconds to adjust. This phenomenon is called dark adaptation.
Our retina: incredibly sensitive to light transitions
As Ranken Technical College's new Diesel Education Technical Center (DTEC) in Wentzville, MO and Advanced Automotive Technology Center in St. Louis, MO, near completion, we put the building's design to the "dark adaptation" test. On a clear sunny day, our team quickly entered the building in Wentzville and much to our delight, our retinas did just fine. The reason for this is that although each site could not be more different (one urban and one rural), the buildings share a common design trait: sunlight capture.
Ranken Technical College - DTEC in Wentzville, MO - An 8 foot tall clerestory runs the length of the shop space on the North facade
Each structure is designed to capture and maximize sunlight through the use of clerestories. The glass clerestories allow for the shop space to be filled with natural light during the entire day. Even on a cloudy day, the sun generates much more light than we can ever hope to with artificial lighting. And we know that students perform better in a naturally lit environment, so the day-lighting strategy not only creates a better learning environment, but also decreases the building's energy consumption.
Ranken Technical College - St. Louis campus - A 4 foot tall glass clerestory runs the length of the building
Stay tuned for more information and in the meantime, give your retinas a break!