It influences the form of spaces and the materials of which they are made. In the past architecture referred to the movements of the sun.
Use of electric lighting beginning in the last century made it possible to add to natural light in the fabric of architecture. A complete understanding of light, of its qualities, of its physical and psychological effects on people and of its continually evolving technologies improves the quality of architecture and permits creation of spaces with greater emotional value.
The growing technological and formal complexity of use of light in architecture has led to the establishment of specialised practices such as Lighting Architects Group of Britain, founded in 1996 by Jonathan Speirs and Mark Major.
Lighting Architects Group is a team combining experts in a number of disciplines (architecture, art, lighting, interior design, graphics and stage sets) who work together to design natural and artificial lighting systems, coming up with solutions for a wide variety of different types of architecture: museums, urban structures, cinemas, monumental buildings, shopping centres, offices, art shows.
One product of the creativity of the Lighting Architects Group's solutions is Magna Science Adventure Centre, a project which won the 2001 Stirling Prize, incorporating two types of work: internal and external architectural lighting for the building renovated by Wilkinson Eyre, and the lighting for the four pavilions inspired by the natural elements (water, air, earth and fire).
The architectural lighting recreates the atmosphere of the old building as described by local residents: the façade is left quite dark, suffused with a blue wash punctuated by red beacon lights identifying its structure.