Monday, February 5, 2024

University of Minnesota Lecture to Lighting Design Minor Students

Last month, I had the opportunity to present on lighting design at the University of Minnesota. I enjoy presenting what Lake|Flato is doing in design performance to our future architects and interior designers.

Today's post will highlight my presentation, where I discussed:
  • Workflow (electric lighting): Lighting design using Revit + Elumtools
  • Workflow (daylighting): Access and glare using Rhino + Climate Studio

keep reading to learn more...

Both architecture and interior design students are taking this class, which is taught by Tao Ham, Lighting Designer at HGA, in Minneapolis. Here we are, pictured below from my previous February 2020 in-person presentation...

Revit + ElumTools

ElumTools is a professional lighting design add-in for Revit by Lighting Analysts, makers of AGI32. This add-in calculates light levels based on the model geometry, surface properties/reflectances, and photometry associated with the lighting fixture content placed in the model.

Rhino + Climate Studio

Climate Studio is an add-in to Rhino created by Solemma, makers of another popular add-in called Diva. We use this toolset to study the quality of daylighting within a space based on the 3D model, surface materials/reflectances, and glazing properties. An example annual analysis is shown below.

--> Check out this Solemma blog post on a Lake|Flato project:

Student Value

When I do lectures like this, I always tell students, including my graduate architecture students at NDSU, that not only is this informant information to know regarding climate action, but it will also help them get their preferred position at a design firm. Having these metrics and graphics associated with several studio projects will speak volumes over software just listed on a resume.


Concluding our exploration of lighting design within the university lecture context, we've delved into the multifaceted ways in which quality architectural design—particularly through the lens of lighting—can significantly enhance building performance and occupant comfort. Through integrating design performance, simulation, architecture, lighting design, and daylighting, we've seen the transformative power of thoughtful, well-executed lighting strategies on the spaces we inhabit.

The key takeaway from this lecture underscores the imperative of marrying aesthetic design with functional performance. Lighting design is not merely about achieving visual appeal; it's about optimizing the human experience within architectural spaces, improving energy efficiency, and fostering environments that are both productive and healthful. By leveraging professional computer software for simulation and design, architects and interior designers are equipped to make informed decisions that balance natural and artificial light, thereby enhancing both the sustainability and the sensory quality of architectural projects.

As we move forward, the call to action for students and aspiring professionals is clear: there is a profound opportunity to improve the quality of architecture and human comfort by learning to perform high-quality lighting design. Mastering professional computer software tools for lighting design is not just a technical skill—it's a gateway to contributing to more sustainable, pleasant, and efficient built environments.

In a world increasingly focused on sustainability and well-being, the role of skilled lighting designers is more crucial than ever. Let us embrace the challenge of designing spaces that reflect the best of what lighting can offer, balancing the needs of today with the possibilities of tomorrow. As students and professionals in the field of architecture and design, we are the stewards of the built environment's future. Let's commit to a future where every design decision enhances human comfort, promotes energy efficiency, and contributes to the overall performance of our buildings.

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Lighting design professionals: check out my Revit & ElumTools training