Sky dome applications

Sky Dome

Canton Uniting Church

This new church in Cardiff, designed in the Project Office of the Welsh School of Architecture, was one of the first models tested in the new sky. Development of the window dimensions and shading were undertaken to reduce potential glare and dazzle. The remaining sunbeam provides a key lighting dynamic.

The interior of the model, with the ceiling removed. The model was about 600×600 in plan.

35mm stills taken from the back of the model at different time of day These images were taken during heliodon testing only, the artificial sky component was not used (hence the black hole, to the top right, that is the window).

Baglan Eco-Factory


Developmental tests during the design of this low-energy factory in South Wales included the assessment of daylight factors under differing glazing treatments, to help achieve the greatest daylight benefit with the least glazing.

The basic model, showing reference and measurement photocells. The measurement photocells could be scanned across the full floor plate. The model was primarily made from perspex, and would appear to be fully glazed.

In actuality, under tests, the walls were masked with opaque materials leaving only the window locations under consideration. The model could thus look at any placement or sizing of windows.

Daylight factors for individual components; e.g. ridge spine lights, roof pop-ups, high or low level side lights, were assessed in isolation. These could then be added together in different combinations and amounts to achieve an optimal solution.

The results showed, for instance, that the ridge light, though not producing large amounts of lighting overall, were critical in providing light to the centre of the bays and therefore could not be removed.

Hong Kong Housing Estate


This assessment was made in conjunction with a wind tunnel investigation of the design of high density housing estates in Hong Kong, using the same basic model for both. Given the scale of the estate, and the size of the model (approximately 2m in diameter) the lighting assessment looked only to the exterior, at sunlight and daylight penetration to facades and to the ground.

The exemplar estate on which the study was based.

The 1:200 model, used in both wind tunnel and heliodon tests.

A test day run in the heliodon.

Analysis of the video images can lead to maps of areas with low sunlight penetration.

Barragan, a student study of the Galvez House:

A recent MSc student study of the architecture of Barragan and his use of colour, included some scale modelling.