Great architects understand that light is a powerful force in design. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, “Visual truth lies in the structure of light.” Steven Holl believed that “a building speaks through the silence of perception orchestrated by light.” And Le Corbusier left us with the majestic, “Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.”
Architect Lawrence Scarpa sees things through the lens of design and the needs of the end users of the spaces he creates. “If you can bring poetry and beauty to the problem-solving process of design, it makes it that much better,” says the principal of Los Angeles architectural firm Brooks + Scarpa. The work of the firm, which Scarpa co-founded with managing principal Angela Brooks, is a testament to the ways in which light is an essential partner to architecture. Their projects, which include affordable housing, museums, government buildings, residences, and institutional buildings, celebrate the interplay of light and volume, texture and contrast, and accessibility and narrative.
On Sept. 22, Scarpa will be presenting the keynote for the second day of LightSPEC West, in Los Angeles. His talk, Discovery through Design: A Journey Toward Light, will cover how his firm explores design as a way to connect people, places, and experiences, and review the processes behind the actual creation of our physical environment. He will discuss how client participation in the design process results in more meaningful and thoughtful buildings, and share design projects that successfully integrate beauty, delight, health, and wellness with best practices in sustainability and innovation. And he will share how, ultimately, all design disciplines can collaborate more effectively project inception to operation and maintenance, and to renovation and recycling.
Scarpa and Brooks are the co-recipients of the 2022 American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal, the AIA’s highest annual honor. Their multidisciplinary practice includes architecture, landscape architecture, planning, environmental design, materials research, and graphic, furniture, and interior design services. Their work, which seamlessly blends architecture, art, and craft, has garnered international acclaim for the creative use of materials and challenges conventional approaches to fully enhance the human experience. The firm has also been recognized for pioneering more holistic approaches to delivering environmentally responsive designs. By reworking the processes of design and building—with material, form, construction, light, and even financing—Brooks + Scarpa culls latent potentials in their projects to turn the ordinary into extraordinary.
Register here for the inaugural LightSpec West event, presented by Endeavor Business Media and LEDs Magazine. The conference currently offers 18 inspiring and educational sessions, each approved for AIA learning units.