The Photon Project is a four-year study headed by anthropologists, evolutionary psychologists, artists, lighting engineers, neuroscientists, architects, engineers and biologists. The minds behind The Photon Project want to answer the question, “If we had the choice to live and work in buildings that were designed specifically to support human needs and benefit human biology, what would they look like?” The study examines the effect of daylight and darkness on human biology with an end goal of applying the results to building design and architecture. The people at The Photon Project believe that building designs can be better suited to healthy living by increasing the area of walls and ceilings that let natural daylight inside the home.
Project leaders are investigating the well-documented idea that natural daylight is extremely important for human circadian rhythms. Previous scientific studies have displayed the benefits of well-maintained natural circadian rhythms on sleep. Daylight is free, it includes the full spectrum of light and it triggers biological responses that affect the human body. Furthermore, daylight causes the body to suppress melatonin which allows us to be more active and alert. Lack of daylight has been shown to produce negative effects on health, well-being, mood and behavior. Because of these reasons, the scientists at The Photon Project believe that increased exposure to natural light at home and at work can help increase quality of life for many people.
The Photon Project scientists hope to discover just how much “Photon Living” can benefit the everyday person at work and at home. The goal is to determine the optimum level of daylight exposure for buildings and to figure out how to use man-made lighting systems in tandem with natural light rather than instead of it. The more The Photon Project learns about this, the sooner we will be able to begin integrating natural light into existing buildings and new building designs.
The Photon Project believes that architects, designers, developers and glass manufacturers need to work together towards a goal of fostering healthy living environments. Architects should focus more on humans as the “centre of buildings.” Designers should keep human psychology and physiology in mind when designing structures. Developers need to be made aware of the health costs that result from high-density housing commonly found in today’s cities. Glass manufacturers need to embrace the technology that will be needed to develop homes, offices and other buildings that focus on “Photon Living.”
This project is a unique study that combines building design with human physiology in order to reach the goal of living the healthiest life possible.