Shadows in a tropical context

Shadows are an integral part of the discussion of Architecture anywhere around the globe. Perhaps it is more so for tropical and sub-tropical context since sun light and climatic conditions are such important factors in the definition of the built environment. However, this subject is rarely considered or explored in our frenzied rush to do more in lesser time. The old Japanese cultures rightly dedicated an enormous amount of time and energy in the understanding of shadows and their relationships to humans through space. For multicultural societies such as Mauritius, the discussion of shadows becomes ever more pertinent since it is part and parcel of our climatic disposition and more importantly, it offers yet another common base in attempting to define a common Architectural approach for the contemporary Mauritian society. The more direct understanding of shadows in a tropical or sub-tropical context is that it protects us from the sometimes hard sunlight of the summer days. Thus, life can happen in the outdoors while enjoying the cool breeze without being directly under the sun. Be it naturally generated from a tree or artificially from a verandah, shadows have affected lives of everyone and is deeply linked to our memories of space.


There is also an ephemeral aspect of shadows that is appealing to our senses. Its ever changing aspect automatically brings changes to our perception of space throughout the day, month and year. This more subtle aspect reveals itself only to those who have developed their sensitivities slightly further.