Alberto Camp Baeza and Till Roenneberg are the winners

2024 Daylight Awards

John Hill
16. May 2024
Alberto Camp Baeza (left) and Till Roenneberg (Photos courtesy of The Daylight Award)

The Daylight Award, presented by the Villum Fonden, Velux Fonden, and Velux Stiftung philanthropic foundations, "honors and supports daylight research and daylight in architecture." The biennial award "acknowledges and encourages scientific knowledge and practical application of daylight, which interlink disciplines that are usually addressed in separated, monocultural spheres, professional circles or practices." 

As such, The Daylight Award is decided by a seven-person jury* made up of architects and scientists and is given in two categories: The Daylight Award for Architecture, "awarded to one or more architects or other professionals who have distinguished themselves by realizing architecture or creating urban environments that showcase unique use of daylight" (past laureates include Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects, and Steven Holl); and The Daylight Award for Research, "awarded to individuals or smaller groups of scientists who have distinguished themselves as outstanding contributors to internationally recognized daylight research."

Each award comes with €100,000. This year's awards were announced on Thursday, May 16, not coincidentally the UNESCO International Day of Light.

Sport Pavilion Francisco De Vitorio University by Alberto Campo Baeza (Photo: Javier Callejas)

Alberto Campo Baeza is receiving The Daylight in Architecture Award because “his buildings exemplify the spiritual qualities of daylight and thus expand the understanding of the values of daylight beyond the current scope of science.” The jury contends that Campo Baeza's minimalist and usually rectilinear buildings “emphasize the presence of light” — his buildings “appear to attract daylight on their surfaces and heighten the presence and healing power of natural light.”  While the jury refers to the many houses Campo Baeza has designed, such as the House of the Infinite, it also singles out a few other buildings from his “impressively wide and versatile” portfolio, including the Sports Pavilion for Francisco de Vitoria University, the Caja Granada savings bank, and the Museum of Memory in Andalucia. 

Although not explicitly mentioned in the jury's statement, the Robert Olnick Pavilion added last year to Magazzino Italian Art in New York's Hudson River Valley is particularly relevant to The Daylight Award. Designed by Campo Baeza in collaboration with Miquel Quismondo, the focal point of the museum is a dramatic “cubic, isotropic space” for temporary exhibitions that features square openings bringing daylight to the gallery's white surfaces. The space seems to be the subject of the jury's closing words: “The whiteness makes the viewer conscious of daylight as a gift, and its seminal importance for all live on earth, as well as for human culture. Alberto Campo Baeza's architecture also makes us aware of the spiritual and symbolizing qualities of light.”

Robert Olnick Pavilion by Alberto Campo Baeza (Photo: Javier Callejas)

Till Roenneberg, Emeritus Professor of Chronobiology at the Institute of Medical Psychology at Ludwig-Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich, is receiving The Daylight Award for Research for his work focused on chronobiology and issues like circadian rhythms and dependencies, and for research findings that “have been both highly cited and influential, and significantly, applied to multiple branches of society, spanning medicine, public policy, and architecture.” The jury statement points out how Roenneberg became influential as the creator of “social jetlag” concept: “the difference in sleep timing between work and free days [that] reflects changes individuals must make for work that are counter to their natural biology.” His research linked extensive social jetlag to obesity, depression, and substance abuse, and it is indicative of how Roenneberg applied his findings to “help resolve real world issues.” The jury was also impressed by “his ability to communicate this work to both scientific and public audiences,” the latter done through popular books such as Internal Time.

Covers of popular books written by Till Roenneberg
*The 2024 jury:

  • Juhani Pallasmaa (chair), Finnish architect, writer, teacher and practicing architect
  • Iwan Baan, Dutch photographer studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague
  • Michael Balick, Vice President for Botanical Science and Director of the Institute of Economic Botany, New York Botanical Garden
  • Gerd Folkers, Professor for Science Studies at the ETHZ Zurich
  • Russell Foster, Director of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology and Head of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford
  • Yvonne de Kort, Professor and Chair of Environmental Psychology of Human-Technology Interaction in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
  • Dorte Mandrup, Creative Director & Founder of Dorte Mandrup A/S

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