AUG 5, 2014

Rooflighting: A modern architectural feature

Rooflights as we know them today are a fairly recent development in architectural history, although the concept of lighting a room from above dates back to thousands of years ago.


In this blog we will take a brief look at the historical developments that led to the invention of the rooflight.


The Earliest Rooflights


One of the first buildings that demonstrated the concept of lighting a room from above was the Pantheon.  This structure was commissioned during the reign of Augustus from 27BC to 14AD and still stands today.  The building has a huge circular opening called the oculus at the top.  The opening allows plenty of natural light (and rain) to pour down into the building.


Many of the wealthier inhabitants of the Roman Empire lived in villas that also featured large openings in the roof to let light in and ventilate the buildings, they called these openings compluviums.  When rain poured in it was collected in a draining pool known as an impluvium and then drained underground.



Skylights made using glass first appeared in Britain and Europe during the mid-1700s when glass became readily available.  The earliest form of the rooflight was a simple sheet of glass inserted into the roof in place of a roof tile.


Industrial revolution

The industrial revolution bought with it the invention of mass produced steel and glass, this meant that by the late 19th century rooflights were a fairly common feature in ordinary houses.  Since then technological developments have meant that rooflights are now of a higher quality, more efficient, and relatively inexpensive, making them a hugely popular option.

Created on 5th August 2014
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