Prana Pratishtha

The Analima on the right is in dialog with the Ibis on the left. This is a Hindu ritual performed by the sculptor of sacred iconography. The eyes of the statue of a god or goddess are the final thing to be created. The ritual is “the opening of the eyes of the deity” so that it becomes the vessel through which divine blessing can be transmitted.  Because Jospehine’s house was designed for the Sun Drawing, I see this Sun Drawing as opening the eyes of her special home to the light...”

 --Janet Saad Cook (8/6/99)



The Sun Drawing

Lightcatcher Retreat was designed around a Sun Drawing.  A Sun Drawing is a changing image of light. Artist Janet Saad-Cook shapes and assembles reflective materials (mirrored metals and optically coated glass) and positions the reflective instrument in a pre-selected path of direct sunlight. As sunlight touches the elements, an image of light gradually appears on the wall.  This image slowly and subtly changes as sunlight completes its passage across the reflective elements.  No pigments are used. The optical coatings on the glass are multi-layered interference coatings that break light into the pure colors of sunlight.    

Saad-Cook worked with McInturff Architects and an astronomer to site the house in the optimal path of the sun.  While most homes feature south facing windows to bring in light, Lightcatcher's southern exposure in the main living space is a solid wall that acts as a canvas for the sun's paint.  The sun enters through clerestory windows above the "canvas" and reflects off the sculptured elements, which are suspended from the ceiling on a pulley system designed by the architects to adjust its height and best capture the moving sun through the seasons.  The drawing is visible beginning in September--appearing a bit longer each day until it peaks with the winter solstice on Dec. 21st and then gradually fades each day until disappearing sometime in March.

In architectural history, the buildings that channel sunlight are usually religious structures that materialize light, as though the finger of God were making a divine point by marking space at a designated time.
— Joseph Giovannini, NYT Design Notebook review of Lightcatcher Retreat