Background

The Daylight Award is presented by the non-profit, private charitable foundations, VILLUM FONDEN, VELUX FONDEN and VELUX STIFTUNG, established by Villum Kann Rasmussen. They support a wide range of non-profit purposes, in scientific, social, cultural and environmental projects.

The three foundations have a long history when it comes to awarding best practice in daylight. Since 1980, they have awarded daylight prizes to among others, Jørn Utzon (DK), Henning Larsen (DK), Richard Perez (USA), James Carpenter (USA), Lacaton & Vassal (F), Bob Gysin (CH), Peter Zumpthor (CH), Gigon & Guyer (CH) and SANAA (JP).

The Daylight Award is presented by the non-profit, private charitable foundations, VILLUM FONDEN, VELUX FONDEN and VELUX STIFTUNG, established by Villum Kann Rasmussen. They support a wide range of non-profit purposes, in scientific, social, cultural and environmental projects.

The three foundations have a long history when it comes to awarding best practice in daylight. Since 1980, they have awarded daylight prizes to among others, Jørn Utzon (DK), Henning Larsen (DK), Richard Perez (USA), James Carpenter (USA), Lacaton & Vassal (F), Bob Gysin (CH), Peter Zumpthor (CH), Gigon & Guyer (CH) and SANAA (JP).

WHY IS DAYLIGHT IMPORTANT

Daylight has been the primary source of light in buildings and a vital part of architecture for centuries. Our bodies need daylight as they need food and water; daylight is a nutrient for our metabolic processes and we know that daylight improves vision, overall psychological health, and has a positive effect on peoples’ performance, attentiveness, satisfaction and capacity to learn.

Yet, today we tend to spend up to 90% of our time indoors, where we are exposed to relatively low light levels and where the patterns of light and darkness occur at irregular intervals. Therefore, adequate levels of daylight during the day and darkness at night are critical in maintaining key aspects of our overall health.

Preliminary evidence even suggests that low light exposure is associated with diminished health and well-being and can lead to reduced sleep quality, low mood and a lack of energy.

Daylight is not only crucial to human health but it is also a sustainable source of energy, as the considerate use of daylighting in buildings can reduce dependency on electrical lighting. Intelligent systems that link daylight with electric light have been available for many years, but their success requires that professionals have detailed knowledge of both daylight and electric light.

THEORY AND PRACTICE

Given the importance of daylight, it is crucial that the fields of research and architecture exchange knowledge and work together. The fields must combine theory and practice in order to maximise the benefit of daylight for humans. In architecture, successful daylighting requires design considerations at all stages of the building design process – from site planning to the building envelope and interior design. Daylight research should play a crucial role in each stage of this process, guiding the architects and building professionals with the most recent studies and findings in the field. To ensure that daylight is an important part of future buildings, the fields of research and architecture must unite – and The Daylight Award is a step in this direction.

Daylight research also needs to look far beyond buildings and our needs inside them. The Daylight Award wants to encourage research in all areas related to the effects of daylight on human health, well-being and performance.

VILLUM FONDEN

VILLUM FONDEN, founded in 1971, supports research in the technical and natural sciences, as well as environmental, social and cultural projects in Denmark and internationally. The foundation is responsible for awarding the Villum Kann Rasmussen Annual Award for Technical and Scientific Research.

VELUX SITFTUNG

VELUX SITFTUNG, founded in 1980, is a Swiss charitable foundation supporting science in daylight research – especially daylight & humans, daylight & nature, daylight technology – as well as healthy ageing and ophthalmology. The foundation supports high-quality research causing impact in science and/or society.

VELUX FONDEN

VELUX FONDEN, founded in 1981, supports scientific, cultural, social and environmental projects that seek to advance an informed, open, inclusive and sustainable society. The foundation’s priority areas are: active senior citizens, ophthalmology and gerontology.

VILLUM KANN RASMUSSEN

Villum Kann Rasmussen was born in 1909 and graduated as a civil engineer in 1932 from the Technical University of Copenhagen. On 1 April 1941, Villum Kann Rasmussen established his company V. Kann Rasmussen & Co specialising in glass roofing. He was very aware of the fact that his small company needed visibility, so as early as in 1941, he designed a logo mark symbolising a sloping glass roof penetrated by daylight. That logo mark has been used ever since by VKR Holding and the foundations.

In the autumn of 1941, Villum Kann Rasmussen was asked to supply roof windows for a school buildings in which the loft space was to be converted into classrooms. His self-appointed task was: ..”once and for all to make a skylight – a roof window – that in every respect was just as good as the best vertical window”. Soon after, he even came up with a name for the product that said it all: VELUX, merged from the words ‘VE’ (ventilation) and ‘LUX’ (Latin for light). It was registered as a trademark in Denmark on 3 October 1942 and has become what is perhaps the world’s best-known building components brand.

Other products such as the VELFAC vertical window from 1952 were introduced. However, as time passed, the VELUX roof windows business area was what made the modest enterprise a large international group – VKR Holding.

VKR HOLDING A/S

VKR Holding and its subsidiaries – the VKR Group – comprise roughly 110 companies in more than 40 countries and employ approximately 13,500 employees. VKR Holding is owned by foundations and family, its major shareholder being the foundation VILLUM FONDEN.

VKR Holding is a limited holding and investment company with the objective to create value through financial investments and ownership of companies. VKR Holding owns companies that bring daylight, fresh air and a better environment into people’s everyday lives within the following areas; roof windows, skylights, vertical windows, solar thermal energy, ventilation and indoor climate.

In 2016, the group celebrates its 75-year anniversary. Through 75 years of innovation and dedicated work, the VKR Group today offers a wide range of products and solutions that contribute to the quality of life – for people living, working in buildings and for children learning in schools.