Gaia Architects

widening participation through design quality

Daylighting in Sports Halls

Client: sportscotland

Gaia Research were commissioned by sportscotland to investigate the use of natural lighting in sports halls. The aim was to explore best practice within the context of delivering attractive, healthy, affordable and manageable sports facilities that minimise pollution.

The aim was to generate contemporary guidance on the use of daylighting, and it's integration with artificial light, in sports halls and to disseminate this in an appropriate format to clients, designers and quantity surveyors. It was intended to assist all involved to make informed decisions regarding the use of daylight in a beneficial and integrated manner. The work involved investigating and documenting good practice in a number of sports buildings in Scotland.


Sportscotland were conscious that concerns for the effects of poor daylighting were dominating design debate and leading clients and designers to adopt a black box approach to sports halls. The consequences of increasing reliance on artificial lighting, increased dependence on mechanical services and loss of indoor design quality were each felt to act against the aspirations of sportscotland to enhance participation in sports for all sectors of society. The resulting guidance took account of both functional performance of play spaces and general daylighting provision throughout circulation spaces.


Gaia have since provided real-time guidance on a number of sports buildings including Lochinver, Kinlochleven, QMUC and Strathclyde.


In 2008 Gaia were commissioned to update the guidance note to account for advances in building materials and modelling as well as to showcase recently built daylit sports halls.

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