In class we talked briefly aabout James Turrell’s extensive use of light not only as a compliment to his architectural projects, but as the main medium with which he works.  Turrell manipulates artificial and natural light in ways that seem surreal at times.  In his skyscape projects, he creates tall rooms or spaces with seating around the perimeter and a carefully designed aperture in the roof to allow a sort of seamless window to the sky, making the viewer aware of the sky above, not as if looking through a window, but as if it were a moving painting on the celing.

I found the skyscape projects and other James Turrell works intriguing because of their innovative use of light as a medium.  Instead of designing his structure with light in mind, Turrell designs his light with structure in mind.  One specific project I found interesting was his Diving the Light building at Pomona College, his alma-mater.  This building is an open-air, single floor structure with benches around its edges, a rectangular aperture in the roof, and a reflecting pool beneath that aperture.    In addition to using natural light in this way, Turrell also makes use of artificial, colored lights throughout the structure to react to the colors in the sunrise and sunset each day.  During these times, there is a type of colored light show that reacts to the sky’s changes in color.  Similar in design to his skyscape projects, Diving the Light is placed in Pomona College as a space for meeting or gathering at any time of the day or night.  It allows students to stop and experience the framed view of the sky in a way that we normally do not see the sky.

Dividing the Light - night

Dividing the Light - evening

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