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LIGHT GLITTERS INSIDE AND OUT — AS ILLUMINATION TAKE CUES FROM DRAMATIC ARCHITECTURAL FORMS

A unique performing arts space with 1,050 seats becomes a beacon for a new cultural destination for the college and its surrounding community. Senior Associate, Michael Lindsey, talks shop about what made this Center for Arts stand apart from all the rest.

What made this project or experience special to you and your team?

This project allowed us to challenge ourselves with early LED implementation to the architectural environment as the primary general light source. It also provided unique custom fixture opportunities with a chandelier element at the signature stair and along the front of the balcony fascia. Finally, the team implemented a cutting edge design approach utilizing tunable white LED technology in the performance space with the general downlighting in the space along with the side lighting of the architectural “petals”. This allows the space to change its overall character in response to and in conjunction with the performance.

What differentiates this project from other performing arts projects you’ve worked on?

The tunable white aspect to the lighting design was certainly the most unique and not something that I’ve approached on a performing arts project before.

Describe a design challenge and how was it achieved.

We were challenged with seismic codes in California which limit the swing that a lighting fixture can have within a space due to concerns it could break and fall. As the team embarked on a chandelier element that was intended to span the full height of the signature staircase, we had to develop ways to secure the chandelier without impeding on the architectural design. Careful design of rings and tiebacks with small aircraft cables to stair landings allowed us to keep the design while meeting code requirements.

Were there budget constraints and how were they met?

The project had normal budgetary challenges in which HLB & the team worked through the design to check costs/budgets. This allowed for the construction phase to be smoother as products were already confirmed to be on budget, so specified products were submitted and approved.

Were there controls, custom fixtures, commissioning, or daylighting scope for HLB?

HLB was responsible for zoning diagrams and communicating intent to the theatrical team as their control system was meant to control the house lights and public lobby lights. We did have (2) custom lighting fixtures in our design. One was at the signature stair and the other on the front of the theater balconies.

What was your favorite aspect of involvement in the project?

The development/creation of the custom lighting elements were the most enjoyable because they were unique and required coordination of many team members (manufacturer, architect, structural engineer, electrical engineer, etc.)

What were the project’s main goals regarding lighting and how were they achieved?

The primary goals were to enhance warmth in the performance space and we were able to do so with tunable white lighting that can transform the mood of the space with light.

Are there any best practices that we have learned through this project?

With our custom glass products on the balcony we did have some glass failures initially which was learned to be due to the “annealing” process of glass. While this falls out of our area of expertise, it was interesting to learn how glass can become even more fragile and shear if the annealing process is monitored carefully.

“Through the use of developing LED color technology, lighting within the Musco Center for the Performing Arts proves that the mood and tone of a space can be dramatically impacted with the simple shift of light within the white spectrum.”

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