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Looking up to Our Five Favourite Skylight Designs

Bringing enough natural light into your home can be a challenge, especially when trying to brighten rooms hidden by the landscape, rooms you would like to keep private, or internal spaces such as hallways and bathrooms. Thankfully, there’s an easy, elegant solution: skylights. Not just stunning architectural features, skylights are a modern staple of sustainable living that uses natural light to provide heat and illuminate spaces.

Skylights have come a long way since their origins in the Roman Empire. No longer are they simply “holes in the roof” that bring light into a dwelling, they can now be found in a variety of styles and forms, giving home owners the ability to pick and choose the perfect skylight for their unique living requirements.

Key Considerations in Skylight Design

The ideal skylight allows the right amount of light to penetrate and illuminate a space without facilitating uncomfortable amounts of solar heat gain and glare. When deciding on a skylight, you first need to decide if you want a fixed or operable skylight for your luxury home. As the names would suggest, fixed skylights are a glass element integrated within the structure of the house.

They cannot be opened or closed. Operable skylights, on the other hand, can be opened for ventilation. They will open anywhere from five to seven centimeters to being fully retracted so that warm air can escape and cooler, fresh air can enter the home.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these main types of skylight, as well as many subclasses. For example, operable skylights could include those with a simple latch (good for skylights in loft spaces that are within arm’s reach), automated mechanisms, or even an entire retractable skylight that slides away to open your house up to the sky. Fixed skylights could include simple windows in the ceiling, an entire “glass ceiling”, or even a Roman-style glass dome.

Keep the following considerations in mind to find the right skylight for you:

  • The direction of sunlight: The placement of the skylight will diffuse sunlight in a particular direction, so consider the function of the room and the space being lit.
  • Ventilation: Skylights increase the solar heat of a room, so ensuring a room is properly ventilated to avoid overheating is crucial.

Our architects at Canny have developed a list of some of the best skylights, globally. Which of these designs is right for you?

Zou ma lou

Let’s start off with a rather extravagant skylight design from Atelier Archmixing’s Shanghai architects: the Zou ma lou. It’s a custom bamboo skylight for a historic Chinese building, developed in response to the overwhelming growth of cities and neighborhoods in China. The project seeks to return value to sensitive interior spaces and improve the user’s quality of life through design.

It consists of a bamboo structure similar in shape to an umbrella, that lets natural light and fresh air into the building. Polyurethane sheets rest at the top of the structure, which can be opened or closed at will. The technical intervention solves all the challenges posed by the client, including air conditioning, rainwater capture, daylight and ventilation.

 The Faversham

The Faversham, a sophisticated double-storey five bedroom in Melbourne’s Canterbury is a French provincial-inspired home, and represents a profound new direction for Lubelso display homes, the Canny Group’s national-award winning luxury predesigned home range. In The Faversham, a Skylight is used in the master bedroom’s dressing room, to bring light into an otherwise dark, interior room.

 The Termitary House

The Termitary House, by Vietnam’s Tropical Space Co. Ltd looks quite unassuming from the outside. A large, simple brick structure disguises a rather extraordinary interior. You see, The Termitary House uses those bricks to create spaces that allow light to flow in from every approach. In fact, it won the archeticture firm a number of prestigious awards, including the Brick Award 2016, the FuturArc Green Leadership Award 2016, and the AZ Award 2016.

As the name would suggest, the Termitary House is designed like a termite hill, with one central room surrounded by external rooms and corridors. This design, coupled with its abundant skylights, allows the house to easily react to the sticky, humid conditions of Vietnam.

 The Glass House

While you may not want to throw any stones in this London home from architects Eldridge Smerin, you’ll certainly want to admire the views. The glass side of the house facing towards the nearby church garden allows light to flow inside; while the street side of the home allows for privacy with a combination black granite, glass and steel wall. As one passes through the house, the ceiling opens up to reveal an open sky above the top-floor kitchen which is covered with a sliding glass skylight. This kind of design is perfect for a homeowner who wants the light to engulf their home from every direction.


The New

The New is a modern contemporary home by Canny in Brighton, this double story design has 4 bedrooms, a study and 3 living areas, suitable for families of all sizes. The skylight in the New is used to illuminate the bathroom, and is directly overhead the shower in the main ensuite. The owners can look up you the sky whilst showering and enjoy the feeling of connecting to nature.

Looking to build a custom home? contact Canny Projects or call 03 8532 4444.


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