Ar. Babika Goel looks at skylights and atriums

Wall Mounted Pergola By Gibus
Wall mounted pergola by Gibus

Babika Goel

Having become popular in large commercial spaces and public buildings, retractable roofs, skylights and pergolas are now finding buyers in the residential sector as well, as the concept catches the imagination of developers, and architects are being called upon to integrate them in their projects, informs Architect Babika Goel.

Davis Studio Travis Price
Davis studio Travis Price
While many clients want us to design rooms that are filled with natural light, it is not always possible. Some rooms cannot have large window openings either because of space constraint or because of want of privacy from the neighbour. But then, creativity can be achieved through different forms, and solutions can be sought with the available materials. One such element which we architects play most with is the skylight. With this one feature, we are able to create visual contrast through misshapen depth, creating a sense of drama in the space.

In an interesting design solution, subtle light was brought in a writing studio by the architect Travis Price (in Washington DC) when he built a dome above his client's desk who wanted a hideout in his house; a rotunda similar to Oracle's temple at Delphi, but very different in usage.

Roof light domes, continuous roof lights and flat roof windows, combined with smoke and heat ventilation, building automation systems and photovoltaics act as active energy managers in malls, industrial warehousing, sports centres, and residential projects. In downtown Manhattan, BW Architects in New York created an interesting design detail wherein daylight was funnelled into a four storey house through structural steel skylights and an exposed manually-geared hardware operating a pivoting glass and steel penthouse wall.

BW Architects Townhouse Mall Of India Atrium
Mall of India Atrium
Heady Solutions
BW architects townhouse

In India, large glass slab edge atriums as seen in malls are popular. But when channelling daylight into a building, thermal insulation with reduced cost of maintenance becomes important. Glass companies like St.Gobain prepare a performance design report based on required specifications for U-value and solar heat gain coefficient. But it is the architect who balances the (often conflicting) natural light with the solar heat gain in such large openings, while companies like the European Lamilux and Indian company Miri Piri enable the final customisation and installation of the atrium.

Section Through Atrium
Section through Atrium

Architect Chetana Pant at DLF Mall of India, Noida, informs that the job of installing the atrium at India's largest mall was executed by Innovator Mumbai. The skylight provided brings in day light with minimum impact on the mall's HVAC. The skylight is a combination of Kalzip roofing with insulation in between the top and bottom sheet and clear glass. The clear glass used in the skylight is a Double Glazed Unit with argon gas filling, which is again energy efficient and reduces solar heat gain.

Architect Sanyogeeta Sule of SS Design Group is currently completing a dome for a residence at Malibu Towne, Sona Road, Gurgaon, with a focus on sustainability. The half dome was cast over cow dung in ferrocrete. The casting with timber shuttering would have been expensive, and a waste as the shuttering material would be used only once. The work required very little manpower for the work and the dome was constructed in just 3 to 4 days. The final installation of the dome with steel and glass is presently under progress.

Malibu Towne Dome
Another product being used extensively for covering large areas and letting light in is tensile fabric. It can be molded into any interesting shape as per the designer's creativity. It gives diffused light, which is ideal for Indian climatic conditions. PVC roofing systems where the fabric without guide rails can be folded to give an unobstructed view of the sky and can be designed as pergolas with shades. In fact, the Roman Colosseum built in 80 AD used to have a retractable roof. The 'velarium' was a sloped canvas awning pulled manually to save the spectators from the glaring sun and catch the wind to create a breeze for the spectators. The velarium or awning at the Colosseum could be extended or retracted with ropes and pulleys according to the position of the sun.

Gibus for instance, offers a complete solution from customisation and installation to after-sales service, has effectively brought a solution to drainage. A new entrant in the Indian market, Gibus, brings an efficient drainage of water integrated in the legs of its powder coated aluminium pergolas, with stainless steel brackets and components.

The Indian market is gearing up to offer international quality products at the most competitive rates, and giving customers value for money. As architects, we stay abreast of the latest design trends, materials, developments and technologies in the roofing industry so that we can come up with new and more effective roofing solutions.
Click Here
To Know More / Contact The Manufacturer
Please provide your details we will contact you as soon as possible
Please let us know your name.
Please let us know your Designation.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your email address.
Please let us know your City.
Please let us know your Contact Number.
Please brief your query.
Our other value-added services:

To receive updates through e-mail on Products, New Technologies & Equipment, please select the Product Category(s) you are interested in and click 'Submit'. This will help you save time plus you will get the best price quotations from many manufacturers, which you can then evaluate and negotiate.

Equipment & Machinery
Invalid Input
Building Products
Invalid Input

Value Engineering

Designing and engineering all aspects of an architectural project should be done with aim to maximise its functionality, quality, and performance, while maintaining efficiency in the building process; and to achieve maximum value, it is Read More ...

Importance of Glass in a Green Building

Green Buildings are more relevant than ever; we needed to counter climate change yesterday; and we need to be prepared for tomorrow. It’s a good thing that we are far more informed that what we used to be. The internet has brought the world Read More ...

Digital Technology and its Relevance in Design

The complexity of design and understanding required in developing projects is a challenging process involving innovation at both the design side and the project delivery end. Given the complexity of designs that we are witnessing worldwide Read More ...

The Architecture of Sustainability

Sustainability has often been touted as a magic pill in response to climate change, but what does it really mean, and can it solve one of the biggest challenges of our times? Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have continued to rise since the Read More ...

Way Forward for a Sustainable Environment

With cities becoming crowded along with the rising concern over pollution, architects and developers are looking at constructing Green Buildings as the way forward for the construction sector. We are all aware that the construction sector heavily Read More ...

Changing the Built Environment

The way people engage with the built environment is greatly influenced by the materials and technologies used, since a poor choice of materials can jeopardize key design decisions. The outbreak of Covid-19, as well as the subsequent restrictions Read More ...

A Multifunctional Home Design

The concept of multifunctional homes is trending; real estate developers, having gauged the market reaction to the new typology, are providing customization to bring flexibility to homeowners. Any major world event will leave its impact on architecture and Read More ...

Formalising the Informal: Potential of Self-Development of Slum Communities

The vision of a slum-free city needs to be viewed through the lens of inclusive development that incorporates economic, environmental, and cultural sustainability – a process where slum occupants take on the mantle of redevelopment themselves supported Read More ...

Exposed Surfaces & Natural Finishes in Interior Design

Interior designers are paying closer attention to climatic considerations, human psychology, comfort, and anthropometry, when creating indoor spaces to meet peoples’ requirements on a mental, physical, and emotional level; thus, there appears to be a significant Read More ...

Marble – An Evergreen & Versatile Material

Designers and builders continue to use marble for its proven strength and luxe appeal. The material emits opulence and returns the investment through its durability, versatility, and timelessness. Read More ...

Building Sustainably

There is an increasing requirement for sustainable and socio-environmental components and each project should integrate simple design concepts with advanced technology in order to build sustainably Read More ...

Architecture Guided by the S.O.U.L.

It is of utmost importance that we are cognizant of climate change and global warming so that we use materials that have a relatively lower carbon footprint, and we must take inspiration from vernacular techniques to reduce heat gain and add comfort within built spaces Read More ...

Social Architecture

Architecture is a creative profession where the study of a particular functioning user group is done, working patterns of a particular society are taken into consideration, and then a space is designed which interacts and contributes to particular needs and wants Read More ...

Living Sustainably Amidst Global Warming

The World Environment Day celebrated on June 5th, 2022, carried the theme ‘Only One Earth’, with the focus on living sustainably in harmony with nature. It is a sobering message, which gains all the more relevance at a time when we are confronted with more evidence of global warming Read More ...

Building Materials: Shaping Architecture & Making Construction Sustainable

The design of contemporary architecture projects in India depicts distinct Indian sensibilities, while meeting demand for modernisation. There is increasing demand for eco-friendly building materials, which is driving usage of materials like green concrete Read More ...

Workplace Trends

There is now a resurgence in demand for office spaces, along with some motivating trends that include renovations and refurbishments to make them more hygienic, more comfortable, natural, and stress-free. Nakul Mathur, MD, Avanta India Read More ...