BY: TYLER FYFE
North American and European cities are getting denser and taller, casting shadows that stretch entire city blocks. That’s why Argentinian architect, Aldana Ferrer Garcia created an extending window for houses and apartments on the not-so-sunny side of the street.
“More Sky” is a cozy alcove that provides “visual relief, access to sunlight and fresh air for small apartments.”
Sunshine and blue skies aren’t just essential to quality of life, they are essential to human health. Low vitamin D levels from sunlight deficiency are contributing to a public health crisis. Vitamin D insufficiency can’t sustain normal bone health, and is the reason why in the late 1800s, 90 per cent of children living in industrialized Europe and North America had some manifestation of rickets—a bone disease leading to fractures or deformity. Lack of sunlight has been linked to diabetes, TB, hypertension, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, cardiovascular disease and most recently, multiple sclerosis.
It’s Argentinian Architect, Aldana Garcia’s way of dealing with a sunlight-related public health crisis in densely populated urban areas at higher latitudes above the equator.
Professor George Ebers, a neuroscientist at Oxford University says that sunlight deficiency is connected to higher rates of MS. Ebers told The Guardian, “if we could convert the UK to the vitamin D status of Queenslanders, we would reduce MS by 80 per cent, presumably.”
The economic benefits of sunlight also dramatically reduce heating costs and lighting costs. In 1832, the Ancient Lights law passed in England, stating that no owner of adjoining land could erect a structure that would obscure another person’s right to sunlight. Shaded homeowners could sue for damages amounting to thousands of dollars in today’s currency. Sadly, the United States decided to snub the ancient lights doctrine because it would limit the commercial expansion of cities. This could be the reason why New York City alone has 238 buildings that exceed 150 metres. This is only surpassed by Hong Kong with 308 skyscrapers.
As population density continues to rise to reach city limits in mega-cities, there is only one way to go—up. That is why Garcia’s innovation, which reduces the impacts of a shrinking sky for city dwellers, is so important.