UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering

Dr Stephen Cannon-Brookes

Dr Stephen Cannon-Brookes

Associate Professor

Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Dec 2000

Research summary

Lighting for heritage and conservation

Since 1990, the primary focus of my research has been the use of daylight in presentation of heritage. Whilst in historical and experiential terms daylight is the benchmark for lighting buildings and collections its use provides substantial challenges for curators and designers who are responsible for ensuring the survival of light responsive materials. My PhD research revealed the risks involved with using physical scale models to predict daylight performance in museum galleries and paved the way for the introduction of more accurate analysis and prediction using climate based daylight modelling (CBDM). Designing the lighting for the General Staff Building, the substantial extension of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg provided one of the first exemplars of CBDM use in museum buildings showing how annual daylight exposure could be tuned by adjusting the building's geometry and materials. This initiated a long collaboration with Prof John Mardaljevic of Loughborough University and currently realised in the National Trust's Daylighting Project, active since 2012. This has sought to bring together both illuminance recording and modelling to development maintenance strategies in Trust properties where often daylight is the only source of light and the contents are highly light responsive. As the Trust's management processes are highly regarded throughout the world the techniques and lessons learnt in this research are relevance to an international audience. Out from the research has been published with more material due to be disseminated.

Areas of activity:
  • Evaluation of daylight performance in real interiors using different monitoring techniques

  • Accuracy of daylight simulation

  • Daylight management in historic interiors and galleries

Light, Wellbeing and Health

Our growing awareness of the range of different human stimulus sensitivities within the visual spectrum and quite possibly into the near UV and IR, as well as the non-visual aspects of light exposure, has raised interest what is the effect of light, as well as its deprivation, on people. Together these suggest that daylight must be treated as the benchmark light source, a challenge for researchers and designers given its variability, but one the long considered amongst those involved in museum lighting. There is much to be learnt from historical practice and empirical evidence and these form foundation of this area of research endeavour. 

Areas of activity:
  • Assessment of actual light exposure 

  • Comparison of daylight to artificial light sources

  • Simulation of daylight

  • Application of light sources to meet changing performance metrics


Cardiff University
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1995
Cardiff University
First Degree, Bachelor of Architecture | 1990
Cardiff University
First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 1988