Victor Quezada of render light & planning, inc. on the artistic value of lighting design and how working on architectural projects has changed.
1. How have innovations in lighting changed how large scale architectural projects are illuminated?
What we are presently practicing is 100% solid state lighting design and specification. By code we abide by ASHRAE 90.1’s reduction in Lighting Power Densities (LPD), LEED building requirements that follow ASHRAE and out dated IESNA light level recommendations. Our modus operandi is to implement LEDs into our lighting designs to fulfil the above mentioned Standards and Guidelines. A starting point for discussion is our latest project “The Exchange”, a 31-storey, 369,000 FT2 LEED Platinum commercial tower heritage and restoration designed by Harry Gugger Studio out of Basel, Switzerland. Our lighting design helped to contribute to a larger sustainable design package that achieved a 48% reduction in energy use and received a substantial BC Hydro rebate. The ceiling which is essentially the mechanical system was the driving force to rethink ceiling/lighting integration. Shallow plenums and wide spacing required new means of conceptualizing a luminaire that integrates with the ceiling and is high performing. We turned to Philips Ledalite who are locally based and gave them our criteria. After several meetings and discussions they offered us an LED luminaire that exceeded our expectations. This base build luminaire along with Xicato module downlights from another local manufacturer, Dasal Architectural Lighting, enabled us to achieve LPDs as low as 0.35W/FT2.
2. How has the lighting of landscape architecture progressed over the last 5 years?
Exterior luminaires are now being further designed as architectural elements that complement the landscape and are now being treated as major design elements. LED luminaire design has enabled smaller form factors that disappear into the landscape. As LED’s have higher efficacies than conventional lighting, designers can address more areas of importance in the landscape. Landscape lighting has moved away from up lighting trees due to Dark Sky and is now focused on lighting the infrastructure with low level ambient lighting. The High Line in New York is a great example of low level lighting, where benches and hand rails are the sources of illumination. Landscape architects are now designing with lighting considerations in their concepts early on which allows for the budgeting of luminaires that can survive the construction process and eventually make it onto a project.
3. What artistic value do your clients typically look for?
We find that when it comes to facades and building crowns, Owner/Developers are pushing for dynamic lighting treatments that distinguish their building from neighbouring sites. We get hired as a specialty lighting consultant and along with that we carry an artistic value into a project. It is often expected that we bridge the gap between functionality and artistry. We often create design solutions that combine both criteria and meet light levels, energy codes while integrating into the architecture in an artistic manner. This work flow is what excites us as lighting designers.