What does light mean to you?
I strongly believe light is one of architecture’s certainties. Without light there would be no colours, but only darkness. Light is the prime resource you think of when you are designing. I am referring especially to natural light. The more you can capture, the better. Of course, there is artificial light as well, but if it were possible I would want natural daylight 24 hours a day.
What about artificial light, then?
It’s very important, but it should come from within buildings. As a matter of fact, I’ve never used a light to illuminate a building from the outside. Light should be encased by the structure, not vice versa, otherwise you run the risk of falling into rhetorical special effects. The worst monuments always have an external light that thrusts them out of the surrounding reality in the worst way.
Light plays an important role in your work on the church at Foligno, doesn’t it?
Yes. In that project I have tried to bring light inside through channels, much like Le Corbusier’s “light cannons”. These glowing elements are part of the structure, they sustain the church’s internal volume. It’s a light we can define as “structural”. I hate skin and façade: the idea that there can be an outer skin that simply conceals. An organism is a whole, there mustn’t be a rigid distinction between interior and exterior. This is the new role for light: connecting the inside and the outside. Even in Beijing, with a recent project for the Central District, we are trying to carry out this theme.