Jun ZouFollow


Doctor of Design (DDes)


Art and Design

Document Type



As a fundamental component in architectural spaces, light primarily serves its capacity for functional illuminance and visual impact. Contemporary Western lighting design practices move from the metaphysical aspects to the physiological aspects of lighting, drawing attention to light's experience and psychological impact.

This thesis proposes a dynamic, unified model for these two aspects of light – the physical and metaphysical – called light-Light. Inspired by the ancient Chinese idea of aesthetic conception, yi-jing, in this framework, the lowercase light refers to the material (or physical) light for lighting, and the uppercase Light corresponds to non-material, inner light for perception, enlightenment, and imagining. The hyphen corresponds to the regenerative, bidirectional, psychophysiological processes that merge the material (light) and non-material (Light) components of light.

The research first takes an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, comparative approach to light by examining the use and meaning of light in selected case studies of traditional ancient Chinese landscape paintings and postmodern architectural New World spaces and their effects on the people experiencing them. Critical concepts are then analyzed to arrive at the framework of light-Light.

The research contends that the effect of the interplay between objective light and subjective Light in the light-Light framework on human perception generates an appreciation of paintings that go beyond technical expertise and aesthetics to the essence and spirit. Applied to the architectural domain, the light-Light framework offers a holistic approach to lighting design that enhances habitant perception and experience beyond modern layered lighting methods. Selected lighting stimuli are emphasized for perceptual naturalness. The research concludes with an alternative lighting design vocabulary compiled from the work.



Committee Chair

Desmond, Michael

Available for download on Sunday, June 06, 2027