by the VELUX Group

The Daylight Award honours and supports daylight research and daylight in architecture. The award puts specific emphasis on the interrelation between theory and practice for the benefit of human health, well-being and for the environment.

Daylight has been the primary source of light in buildings and has been 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.

The importance of daylight in both research and architecture matters greatly because the impact of daylight is rising. Not only indoors but also as cities are becoming more dense, more vibrant and more populated. 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, providing 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”, Hubert Klumpner, Chairman of the jury and Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at ETH Zürich.

The award for Daylight Research

The Daylight Award for Research is awarded to individuals or smaller groups of scientists who have distinguished themselves as outstanding contributors to internationally recognised daylight research. It acknowledges highly original and influential advances in the areas of natural science, human science or social science, with special emphasis on the effects of daylight on human health, well-being and performance.

The laureate of The award for Daylight Research is Marilyne Andersen who has distinguished herself as an outstanding contributor to internationally recognised daylight research by combining research with practice and focusing on the impact on the health, well-being, and experience of building users thereby placing her in the forefront of the inter-disciplinary field in daylight.


“Research in daylight is a never ending quest for dynamic, multifaceted quality in spaces. It brings opportunities to connect to remote research fields, from neuroscience to psychophysics or computational engineering, and carries an emotional connection in every aspect. The Daylight Award in Research is a wonderful recognition of the ongoing and much needed efforts to push the question about what is good daylighting to new horizons… though we already know there will never be a simple or single answer to it.”, Marilyne Andersen, Professor of Sustainable Construction Technologies and Dean of the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC) at EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne).

The Award for Daylight in Architecture

The Daylight Award for Architecture is awarded to one or more architects or other professionals who have distinguished themselves by realising architecture or creating urban environments that showcase unique use of daylight. Special emphasis will be put on architecture that considers the overall quality of life, its impact on human health, well-being and performance, and its value to society.

The laureate of The Award for Daylight in Architecture is Steven Holl due to his continuous and inspiring work in highlighting space and light in his architecture, creating experiential and emotive architecture with a strong focus on the human experience.


“I am deeply honored to have been selected as the laureate for Daylight in Architecture. Space is oblivion without light. A building speaks through the silence of perception orchestrated by light. Luminosity is as integral to its spatial experience as porosity is integral to urban experience.”, Steven Holl, Principal of Steven Holl Architects, New York City and Beijing

The Foundations behind The Award

The Daylight Award is presented by the non-profit, private charitable foundations, VILLUM FONDEN, VELUX FONDEN and VELUX STIFTUNG. The foundations are able to support a wide range of nonprofit purposes, in scientific, social, cultural and environmental projects.

The three foundations have presented daylight awards since 1980 to a.o. Jørn Utzon, Henning Larsen, Bob Gysin, Richard Perez, Peter Zumthor, James Carpenter, Lacaton & Vassal, Gigon & Guyer and SANAA – celebrated as national events in Denmark and Switzerland. With the Daylight Award the hope is to establish an award with a global outreach and recognition.

The Daylight Award Ceremony will be held 2 November 2016 in Copenhagen, Denmark and the intention is to present the award every second year thereafter.


Contact information

Secretariat for The Daylight Award:


Read more about The Foundations behind The Award


The Daylight Award is presented by VILLUM FONDEN, VELUX FONDEN and the VELUX STIFTUNG, non-profit foundations established by Villum Kann Rasmussen, the Danish industrialist who designed the VELUX roof window and other building components. The main purpose of the three foundations is to promote scientific, social, cultural and environmental projects.