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The Symbology of an Oculus

love the idea of a hole in the ceiling. It’s the magic of light, and it’s movement it brings into a room. That hole is called an Oculus. It’s a way of funneling light in a space. It can unite structures with the sky.  An oculus can allow a space to breath because traditionally the opening does not have a glass lid. So, it’s great for air circulation. But, what I love most is that the light is always moving through the space. So, the rooms are kinetic. And as the sun gets stronger or weaker; bluer or warmer, so does the room it shines into.  I wanted to share my research on why the Oculus has such an importance in architecture and design, as well as its’ symbology.


The Oculus means “eye” in Latin. It is literally a window or shape that has an opening of an oval or circular shape.

Historically, an oculus was first used in Europe in the Pantheon Ceiling – built in 125 BC by Emperor Hadrian it was believed to be built as a temple for all Gods. The dome remains the largest unsupported dome in the world. The oculus is the only natural source of light from the inside. It symbolizes the union of the earth and sky, that allows human prayer to ascend to the heavens. It links architecture to the cosmos. it was also used as a sun dial to track the time of day.


Le Corbusier’s Pavilion Esprit Nouveau built an oculus in the structure that gives way to a tree that unites the outside to the living space.  


I love this use of an oculus by Solis Colomer Arquitectos. This residence is in the woods outside Guatemala City that connects views from the architecture to the landscape. symbolizes the connection between nature and what’s man made;  as well as primitive and modern. There, the oculus is used as a seamless connection with the building and nature.  It also performs as a natural spotlight.

In the top photo, I designed a 3d vision to pay homage to the magic of the Oculus. Also, please check out the Obsidian Virtual Concept House, which I am part of – to be premiering the end of January!

There are so many ways light can impact a space. An oculus is a brilliant way to incorporate light into architecture. Our predecessors were enlightened.

Thanks for reading! Check out and Like my instagram feed for more visuals.  @Lindaallendesigns

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Thanks so much! Linda

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