The natural grade at the front of the house, where the master bedroom is located, was 6 feet above the finished floor, which didn’t leave enough wall space for meeting the code requirements for light and ventilation.
The building code requires that a habitable space shall have natural light area of not less than 8% of the floor area and the operable area to the outdoors shall not be less than 4% of the floor area –for bedrooms, living room, dining room, family room and similar type spaces.
So we designed in a light well for the front windows. In architecture, a light well is an unroofed external space provided to allow light and air to reach what would otherwise be a dark or unventilated area.
We also had to get planning approval for the light well because the house is over 50 years old (an historic building) and we were modifying the front of the house.