1. Kresge Chapel at MIT by Eero Saarinen: Though I have never personally (unfortunately) visited this chapel I learned about it in my architectural history class and have been enchanted by it ever since.
2 The building was designed with three main lighting components, none of which included traditional fenestration, and all of which rely and natural daylighting. Once inside the chapel, the main light source come from a circular oculus right above the altar, that produces a theatrical and dramatic spotlight on the altar itself. The second lighting feature is caused by the metal mobile-like sculpture that hangs between the oculus and the altar. The dangling pieces of metal reflect the light from above, spreading it around the brick walls. Not only does the sculpture help to spread the light around the space but the light also serves to illuminate the sculpture so that it sparkles almost magically above the altar. The last source of light is from the daylight that reflects on the moat that runs along the perimeter of the circular building and bounces back into the interior of the walls. The water helps to reflect the natural light much like a mirror would in a lamp, diffusing the light against the walls. The effect is a glow that dances on the walls as the water moves.
3. It is clear that the lighting design of Kresge Chapel was not meant to fulfill specific functional requirements, but rather to fulfill spiritual ones. The purpose of the building is to take people away from the urban and chaotic world surrounding the chapel. It is a place of reflection, worship, and hope. The lighting, above all is used to create this surreal, soothing and magical space. It creates drama, as in the contrast of the sharply bright altar to the surrounding darkness, magic, with the dancing light beams reflected off the sculpture onto the walls, and serenity, with the soft diffuse light that comes from the moat below the perimeter on the walls.
4. At least from pictures, which is sadly all I can judge by, it seems that the chapel is very successful. The images describe a place that looks positively enchanting and in a sense, completely separate and unique to its surrounding environments. It seems that from inside, a person would forget where they are, as they could really be anywhere. The only issue I can imagine with the design is that it depends on there being sufficient daylight outside, which given the weather in Boston, particularly in winter, could pose a problem.