Light & Space Academy: The Finnish Mobile University
Architectural lighting design is facing new challenges. Fast developing tools in architecture and other associated professions exert huge external pressure on architectural lighting design. The rule oriented and systematic lighting design process era is dominating, but has slowly started to fade away. A heuristic approach, combined with pragmatism, gives a useful “Design Toolbar”, which looks different from before. This “toolbar” establishes completely new and creative tools for the lighting designers of tomorrow, whoever they are.
The scientific method as an empirical and historical category, refers to activities which, if successful, produce to some extent consistent and predictable results. When the scientific field (also including smaller scientific scale fields like technical lighting), is aging and its foundation and paradigm mature, the scientific method evolves.
In the technical lighting field “normal science” explains and justifies itself as a rule orientated and systematic process, while in new or fragmented fields and sectors borderlands (as in relatively young architectural lighting) ought to foster virtuosity, personal knowledge and creative talents. These elements, which are very important in the creative architectural lighting design process, are not necessarily achievable with formal education alone. However, this does not eliminate the feasibility of teaching creative architectural lighting design, for example, to talented architecture students.
This philosophy was tested as private persons by Hannu Tikka and Julle Oksanen from 2003 up to 2015 by giving Pro Bono based education in all over the world. It worked out. At the moment they are setting up an interdisciplinary “Light & Space” education program at Philadelphia University and widening their “field” by working on the worldwide education program to a famous international luminaire manufacturer. They have also a door ajar to Ivy League Schools in US, where Cornell University happened to be their first “Customer” in 2005, time before Aalto University. Based on their “Light & Space Academy” they have “earned” 5 professorships (Norway, New York, Oregon).