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The Photon Space: Libido-Boosting Architecture?

As winter looms ever closer, the wane of sunlight’s presence can become both a perceptible and imperceptible force upon mood. And although sunlight’s effects upon mood is well-documented, there hasn’t been much exploration of how to design homes and structures to maximize natural daylight specifically for health benefits. In many ways modern architecture has worked incongruously against the biology and evolution of our bodies, cutting us off from the very source which dictates our bio-rhythms: the sun.

The Photon Space is a modular construction project designed specifically to address this shortcoming of residential architecture, utilizing nano-technology and multi-layered, high-performance glass walls to bathe occupants with natural light, while providing instant privacy at the flick of a switch. Based upon the research of Oxford University professor, Russell Foster, The Photon Space redirects technology to harness sun beyond solar energy, and “feed” occupants’ non-visual photoreceptors for psychological and physiological health’s sake… a greenhouse for humans.

6 Photon Space (inside at sunset)

The prototype is designed with just a 45m2 footprint, a compact living solution which can incorporate a sitting room and double bedroom with a modular integrated kitchen and bathroom.

2 Photon Space (sitting room looking in)

7 Photon Space (outside at sunset)

8 Photon Space (outside at night)

The Photon Space’s glass panels are double and triple glazed rated for maximum insular performance to effectively control the interior heat at a comfortable constant without excessive reliance on heating and cooling, alongside an impressive acoustic dampening effect: insulation (0.6 W/m2k); solar gain (63% of solar radiation blocked); UV transmittance (99.9% UV blocked) and sound levels (85% of external sound blocked).

3 Photon Space (bedroom in the day)

9b Photon Space (bedroom in the morning)

9 Photon Space (bedroom at night)

Of course one of the obvious concerns while living in an all-glass home is occupant privacy. The Photon Space is designed with glass that can switch from transparent to opaque with the ease of an on and off switch or via a smartphone app. The intelligent glass skin allows occupants the option to control opacity not only for privacy, but to maximize sleeping environments and treatment of stress, including for anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, energy maintenance, and even libido health (adding a whole new hi-tech definition to “mood lighting”). Traditional window coverings can add an extra layer of privacy when needed.

4 Photon Space (bedroom looking in)

5 Photon Space (sitting room looking out)

CTF002 Photon House 007

CTF004 roof top Photon Space FULL RES 003

The Photon Project’s team has already built a proof-of-concept Photo Pod – a 30m squared all-glass structure, which appeared on the streets of London as part of The London Design Festival back in 2013. Now the The Photon Project’s team is securing grants and land to build their larger concept structure, The Photon Space on the island of Bornholm in Denmark, led by Professor Foster and his team in the next 4 years in hopes further demonstrating their smart glass technologies on a larger scale. Only time – and a little sunlight – will tell whether the progress in glass technology and engineering will find their way into our homes… or more likely, at your next holiday resort.

Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.