As I have travelled the world, I am always impressed by the creativity in architectural exterior lighting. Over the years I have seen giant beacons atop buildings, lights that change to tell you the weather forecast (for example, white lights for snow), even patriotic displays of red, white, and blue on the beautiful Empire State Building.
 
As energy crises have come and gone, so has the amount of light thrown on these great buildings. Today, luckily, the Wrigley Building on Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue is again glowing white each evening.
 
I own a lot of architecture books, but very few address this important visual aspect of skyscrapers and other buildings. By far the best and most comprehensive is Architecture of the Night: The Illuminated Building by Dietrich Neumann (Prestel publishers, 2002).
 
This beautiful book contains plenty of black and white and color photos and illustrations of how buildings have been lit up since the rise of electricity. From the great (and brilliantly lit) world’s fairs to 21st century light shows, from New York’s Coney Island to Cleveland’s Terminal Tower, from Las Vegas to Yokohama to Dubai, the most intriguing light displays from past and present are all here.
 
If you’re looking for visual inspiration for your exterior lighting project, or just want to dream about “what it was like” in great cities of the past, then this book will amply reward you.
   

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