In architecture, a lightwell, light well or air shaft is an unroofed external space provided within the volume of a large building to allow light and air to reach what would otherwise be a dark or unventilated area. Lightwells may be lined with glazed bricks to increase the reflection of sunlight within the space.
Lightwells serve to reduce the necessity for electric lighting, add a central space within the building, and provide an internal open space for windows to give an illusion of having a view outside.
Area or areaway
A subterranean lightwell at the front of a building to provide light to a basement is called an area (or areaway in North American usage).
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