The Skylight Effect – Applicant submissions (part two)

In the same way a room can be transformed by letting light in, so a mind can be opened by the power of education. It was with this sentiment that our 2nd Annual Skylight Effect Scholarship Contest was launched three months ago, the challenge: Establish a contrasting relationship between the quality of a space both with and without a significant level of natural light.

The applicants were exceptional, so exceptional that we decided to feature them here.

Megan P.

Megan has a deep love of learning; moreover, she is adamant in not letting educational opportunities go to waste.

‘A Soothing Change’

Megan titled her entry “A Soothing Change,” about what she describes as “the calming health benefits of natural lights.”

Megan says, “I have always wanted an indoor pool room that incorporates skylights. Thus, I ran with this viewpoint and sketched the two identically sized and shaped rooms. At this point, the two rooms diverged: the room lacking a skylight demonstrated the claustrophobic feel that rooms, with no natural lighting, can create. In contrast, I made my room light, airy, and sunny—basically, I wanted it to be as cheerful a room as possible. This is when I started thinking about how a skylight could influence the styling of the rooms; so, I made the Before Room sparse and cold-looking yet delightfully decorated the After Room. I think the most important aspect of my piece is the reflection.

In the fall, Megan will attend School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she plans on pursuing a career in Art History, Art Education, or Fine Arts, with the goal of becoming an art teacher, museum curator, or full-time artist.

Rachel P.

The Skylight Effect

“lack of natural lighting”


Rachel, though still in high school, has big goals. She says, “As of now, I hope to research ribozymes, or micro-ribonucleic acids, which are molecules that regulate the transcription and translation of DNA, and have properties that are promising in the fight against cancer.”



“In the first drawing, the lack of natural lighting creates shadows under the shelves and cabinets, and especially around the beams of the ceiling. These shadows give the room a dirty and dingy appearance. The second drawing illustrates the same room, with three added skylights. These additions illuminate the room, completely eradicating the dingy atmosphere and replacing it with a pleasantly bright one. With the added light, plants can flourish, and seven potted plants have been added, giving the room a fresh and natural aura. The shadows in the beams have been greatly diminished, and the colors in the design are more vibrant. The paired drawings reveal how effectively skylights can transform dark spaces into open airy ones.”


The Skylight Effect

“pleasantly bright”

After graduating from high school, she hopes to attend Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she will major in molecular biology, with the goal of earning a Ph.D. in 2025.

Jacob J.

Firsthand experience of ‘skylight’ installations is the best evidence, and Jacob J. witnessed The Skylight Effect up close.

The Skylight Effect

“We are overjoyed that [our] cafeteria now benefits from natural light and will rarely use artificial lighting,” Jacob says.

An installation of solatubes was selected to brighten up the central area of Jacob’s high school. The cafeteria was the perfect choice as a highly visible space that students and visitors are likely to see upon entering the building. When the sun is shining, the solatubes provide enough natural light that the artificial lights in the space will scarcely be needed. Jacob even noticed that on overcast and rainy days the cafeteria still seems to have enough light.

Jacob is and honor roll student and Eagle Scout. He plans to enroll in the Architecture Program at: The Design School Herberger Institute at Arizona State University.

In Jacob, Rachel, and Megan we see the wide range of our applicants, and their entries demonstrate both the aesthetic and efficiency benefits of adding natural light via a skylight or sun tunnel.

Please be sure to check back… more to come






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