Faculty: Kartikeya Chhaya

A Study of Architectural Experience As Affected by the Phenomenon of Night

A natural phenomenon, a window to stare into oblivion, a clear dark sky with shades of deep blue, reds and greys,
celestials glimmering across lengths, the silence creeping in and the surroundings seeming to slow down to rest. A
sight for a few that grow to acknowledge the multiple qualities in the atmosphere as the earth shifts positions. Is this
what ‘night’ is? Is it only a geo-physical condition of light or does the term cover more territory?
A leaf of a mango tree under bright sunlight can seem translucent, like a membrane with the whole of its support
system visible through, in and out. As the sun sets and night falls in, this very leaf can metamorphose completely
seeming opaque. It is when the leaf’s exterior gets a chance to shape shift, transform into another character with a
bold sheen sheath.
A yellow stone column glistening under the orange lights of the morning hours, shades over the water body beneath.
Under a waxing moon, the reflection from the ripples, falls back onto the column, grazing through the rough surface
of this stone, giving it a subtle, faint brightness.
What happens to the material and the immaterial on the onset of nightfall? Is this shift from day to night associated
with our notions of duality – fear and freedom, invisible and expansive, unpredictable and concrete? Likewise do
visual concepts of space, place and sensorial experiences that the environment has in store, also go through this shift
into opposites?
Different instances, activities and places bring about different stories associated with the transforming sky form, the
silence, and darkness that come with the onset of the Night; shift in time and state of rest, when most of the
surroundings are unhindered and unwatched. What attributes of a space contribute towards a particular experience
at night? How does a certain form, material, texture, element, surrounding characteristics formulate the way a place,
an architecture, is perceived differently, at night? Interaction between human, space and night - an energy exchange,
a conversation, aspects of interaction where one does not exist without the other is intriguing: this curiosity forms
the core of this inquiry.