The intake and distribution of natural light in interior spaces are imagined early in architectural design: placement of openings, orientations and inclinations, depth of spaces, etc. are defined during the first sketches. However, existing design aid tools are ill adapted to this early phase where the building is not completely defined.
In order to help overcome these difficulties, we propose to use the models of buildings in design. They are placed under an artificial or natural sky. Inside images are displayed via micro-cameras on a computer screen. The software computes correspondence between points of the image and luminance levels in the actual models. Knowing luminance in every point of the interior envelope, the software we are developing, analyses the luminous ambience on the image.
The main contribution of this work lies within ambience analysis on images, expressed in qualitative and quantitative terms. For example, the result of the analysis of a field of vision is « calm and clear ambience » or « tense and rather dark », etc. Definitions of such qualitative terms, based on previous works, are shown to users along with related quantitative and reference data.
These methods help the use of natural light, hence of renewable energy. It allows good use of the natural luminous flux: to have enough but not too much (avoiding visual discomfort and overheat). It also allows architects to follow the aesthetic evolutions of the ambiences they imagined.