I’ve always wanted to see this. Maybe some day. Photos by Isabel Winson-Sagan.
The Dwan Light Sanctuary (DLS) was designed by Virginia Dwan (conceptualizer and funder), Charles Ross (solar spectrum artist), and Laban Wingert (planner-architect) and opened on October 25, 1996.
The DLS serves the UWC-USA campus and the public as a refuge from the pace, conflicts, and anxieties of daily living. The site was selected to capitalize upon the spectacular northern New Mexico light. The orientation and geometry of the building are derived from its alignment to the sun, moon, and stars. Projecting from a circular core are two apses each containing six large prisms mounted in sloping windows to capture light rays from sunrise to sunset.
Interacting with spectrums cast from the windows are spectrums from twelve prisms mounted in the roof that form broad ribbons of pure color. These ribbons move with the revolving of the earth. Lunar spectrum can be seen on full moon nights.
A third apse, facing north, houses a window which frames trees and sky during the day and the North Star at night. A line parallel to the axis of the earth goes from the center of the floor through the center of the North Star window.
The circular part of the building is 36 feet in diameter and reaches 23 feet in height. The floor dimensions represent solar and lunar proportions.