Bleak outlook – no outlook
No, this isn’t a post about the state of the economy. It is triggered by a discussion on the website Quora in response to the question ‘Why don’t most casinos have windows?’ The reasons given include the need not to distract people with an awareness of the outside world, not allowing gamblers betting into the morning to realise that the sun had come up (at this time they tend to be at their drunkest and apparently it is the most lucrative time), and because windows would help them find their way out. Of course there are security issues as well. In the days when books were seen as still having value, many university libraries were designed without opening windows to prevent students throwing books out to waiting friends. And I suppose, as well, that windows allow you to see in – and many people may not wish to be seen at the tables.
What is interesting about these issues is that they immediately make you think of why windows are so important in most buildings. About, in fact, the importance of daylight. There are a few buildings where we don’t want it to intrude, such as the cinema (although this is probably why going to the cinema in daylight still feels faintly naughty).
But most of the time it is good for us to see out, good for our well-being and our general happiness. Lighting companies work very hard to create lights that simulate the effect of daylight, sometimes even changing colour temperature through the day, but this can only ever be second best. For orientation, for resting the mind, for making us feel connected with the world and the passing of the day and the seasons, you can’t beat a window.