Biophilia Essays: Sixth Crossing
When AWA Lighting Designers was brought on board to light what would be the longest-spanning arch bridge in the world, the Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Crossing or “Sixth Crossing” in Dubai, UAE, they would return once more to the universal appeal of the moon and its influence on life systems. Utilizing complex mathematical algorithms, the subtle lighting on the bridge’s graceful arches is programmed to correspond to the respective luminosities of five lunar states: those of full, gibbous, half, crescent, and new moons. Reflecting off the water, the image of the arch becomes a complete loop, and thus does “complete the circle” of a lunar profile. The intent is for these cycles of lighting to be registered—not just consciously, but subconsciously also—by the city’s residents, thus satisfying biophilic needs even in an urban environment.
“Biophilic design” can refer to several trends in modern “green” design, but in most uses it indicates a design principle that goes beyond merely minimizing the impact of the built environment to create actual close contact between users and the “natural” world. By inviting nature into the design, whether through biomimicry, green curtain walls, extensive natural lighting (or simulations thereof), multi-species accessibility, or the like, a design reengages occupants with the environmental elements that, according to Wilson, are inherently intertwined with our genetic predispositions.