Archive for March 1st, 2011

March 1, 2011

Lighting One Bryant Park | Cook+Fox and Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design

One Bryant Park has its own distinctive identity on the night skyline.


When the Durst Organization and Cook + Fox approached Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design (CBBLD) to execute the exterior lighting scheme for One Bryant Park, they already had a very clear idea of how they wanted their building to appear at night. The crystalline volume of the 55-story tower features a variety of facets, sliced away from the mass of the building, that orient views through the forest of midtown skyscrapers surrounding the structure. This is most apparent on the southeast exposure, which faces onto Bryant Park itself, where the corner of the building is cut away from the 22nd floor up through the parapet, creating an inverted triangular facade element. Here, the architects established a double curtain wall, the exterior glass surface forming the smooth plane seen from the street, while the interior is notched in plan to create additional corner office space. Cook + Fox and the developer both wanted this inverted triangle to glow at night—to shine out on the skyline even brighter than the lantern-like, already glowing glass tower. And of course, the job would have to be accomplished without exceeding the stringent energy requirements demanded to achieve a LEED Platinum rating.

Courtesy CBBLD.
Courtesy CBBLD.


As tall as those marching orders may have been, they were not the last of the challenges that the project presented to CBBLD. The design team was impressed, and concerned, by the minimalism of the structure and the clarity of the low-iron glass. These were great features for giving the tenants unobstructed views to the park and skyline, as well as for flooding the interiors with copious quantities of salubrious unfiltered daylight, but those same aspects made the space Teflon, so to speak, for electric lighting. There was nothing upon which the light could cling, no surface that would hold it and create the glowing effect the architects so desired. The joke around the office was that they would have to fill the cavity with smoke and shine light up through its hazy mantle for anyone to notice any illumination at all. Cook + Fox was unwilling to add anything to the structure or the glass itself that would impede the view/daylight continuum. Furthermore, they insisted that whatever fixtures CBBLD inserted into the space must not be visible from the interior.

In the end, the solution was quite simple. The architects wavered an inch from their transparency hard line and added a touch of translucent fritting on each exterior glass panel, high up where it wouldn’t trouble the eye. It proved enough, however, to catch the light and create a subtle striated pattern of illumination on the exterior, an effect, after all, that even matched the romantic rendering first presented to CBBLD. To make the light, the team settled on high-output 15-watt LED cove fixtures placed in the spandrel sections of the elevation, where they would be well out of sight. They also tuned the white LEDs to 5,000K, establishing a cooler light within the double wall that contrasts with the warmer, 3,000K-T5 fluorescent strip lighting on the building’s interior.

As elegant as the solution was, it didn’t work all the way up the elevation, where two other architectural conditions presented themselves—the mechanical floors, which run from 52 to 56, and the parapet, which goes from 57 to the sky. Cook + Fox wanted a consistency to the appearance of the lighting scheme in spite of these differences, and so CBBLD went about fabricating as close a facsimile of the office floors as was possible. The mechanical floors step back from the lower parts of the tower, and on the resultant ledges, the team inserted frosted glass panels. They backlit these with floor-mounted 58-watt T5 fluorescent lamps, tuned to the same 3,000K color temperature as the office lighting. Within the cavity created between the frosted panels and the exterior wall, the designers placed the same 5,000K LED fixtures as used on floors 21 through 51, only bracket-mounted rather than cove. This strategy created a similar depth and contrasting tone of light as below. The team also backlit the rest of the mechanical floor’s facades, which are translucent glass, with 58 watt T5 fluorescent lamps, further reinforcing the consistency of lighting throughout the elevation of the building.

One Bryant Park.


Lighting the parapet, which extends in some places asmuch as 50 feet above the roof, was an entirely different ballgame. There would be no constructing of a backing wall of frosted glass, as on the mechanical zones. CBBLD also had to contend with the helter-skelter ambient light of nearby Times Square. The solution was to use 400-watt metal halide floodlights behind the double wall section to simulate the lighting provided by T5s below, and 269-watt metal halide up-lights paired with each vertical column of the glass wall to reproduce the effect handled by the LEDs. The remainder of the parapet was lit with 150-watt metal halide up-lights, again to establish consistency of light all the way to the tippy top of the tower.

Then there is the spire, which reaches a full 1,200 feet into the air. Cook + Fox and Durst felt this element should be lit in a changing array of colors, both to complete the overall architectural composition at night, and as a civic gesture on the skyline similar to that offered by the Empire State Building. In answer, CBBLD outfitted the spire, a sort of triangular vertical truss in form, with strategically placed 50-watt RGB color-changing LED up-light fixtures. The luminaires are linked to a DMX control station, allowing One Bryant’s management to adjust the color on demand.

CBBLD also completed the lobby lighting scheme, though there is no room to discuss that here. Throughout the project, CBBLD counted every watt; there isn’t an incandescent on the job. The watt-scrimping paid off. The lighting scheme helped the base building earn its LEED Platinum rating, and it did so without sacrificing a little splash on the exterior, proving that a building doesn’t have to be boring to be green.

Aaron Seward
March 1, 2011

University of Washington Foster School of Business Paccar Hall | LMN Architects

Project Details:
Location: Seattle, Washington – USA
Completion: September 2010 (Phase I) – June 2012 (Phase II)
Client: University of Washington
Architect: LMN Architects –
Project Size: 133,000 gross square feet (Phase I) – 63,000 gross square feet (Phase II)
Project Cost: Phase I: $95 million – Phase II: $46.8 million
Project Team:
Architect: LMN Architects –
General Contractor: Sellen Construction
Civil Engineer: KPFF
Electrical Engineer: Sparling
Mechanical Engineer: Notkin
Structural Engineer: MKA
Landscape Architect: Swift Company
Cost: Davis Langdon
Photography: Nic Lehoux, Graham Syed, Doug Scott

The Foster School of Business is in the midst of a transformation, with a clearly articulated vision to become the top public business school in the nation. The overriding purpose of this multi-phase project is to convert the school’s current collection of outdated facilities-through new construction and renovation-into a cohesive education complex that embodies its educational focus of leadership development, strategic thinking and collaboration. The project includes two new, interconnected buildings: the privately funded 133,000 SF Paccar Hall (Phase I); and a publicly funded 63,000 SF building that replaces 1960’s era Balmer Hall (Phase II). Also included is renovation of the subterranean Foster Business Library, which repositions its primary entrance to link directly with the central activity zone of Paccar Hall.

The design responds to the program’s strong emphasis on social connectivity and its active central campus site with a high degree of porosity—in terms of both visual and functional relationships. A four-story, day-lighted atrium runs the entire length of Paccar Hall. Primary entrances are knitted into the pedestrian flow of the campus, with views, topography and landscape embraced as integrated elements in the architectural experience. The exterior expression is a direct response to the functional needs of modern business education and environmental influences, while responding to adjacent historic campus buildings with compatible materiality, scale and proportion.
Design Approach

At the heart of the Foster School of Business’ transformation is the concept of integrated communities, where the social environment, natural environment and campus landscape are embraced as interrelated influences in the architectural experience. Common areas are organized as a series of interconnected spaces that function in many different combinations—from small groups to large gatherings, encompassing a full spectrum of informal student activities, regular programs and special events.
The central atrium within Paccar Hall works as a collector of community activity and social heart of the school, perceptually as well as functionally. Extensive day-lighting, transparency and views to the surrounding campus and landscape create a sense of openness and connectivity. A modern sensibility of materiality and detail is expressive of the school’s progressive business education philosophy.

Connected to Campus
Transparency – The design for Paccar Hall creates a strong sense of transparency— both visually and functionally. Extensive use of glass (appropriately shielded from direct solar glare) captures abundant daylight throughout the central atrium and common interaction spaces, instilling an overall spaciousness that blurs the distinction between inside and outside.

Connections – The interior spaces, views and entrances are organized to knit together with the landscape, site topography and campus pathways. Both Paccar Hall and the Phase II building will have gracious plazas and a shared courtyard available to the entire campus community, mixing the daily life of the school with that of the campus.

Engagement – Paccar Hall’s outward architectural expression reflects a strong sense of community engagement, the building provides a prominent physical presence at the campus’s ceremonial entrance. Together with the law school, Paccar Hall frames the public approach to historic, tree-lined drive Memorial Way, and its scale, proportion and use of materials are responsive to its historic campus context. The building’s
brick, glass and metal exterior combines a respect for the character of the campus architecture with the school’s forward-looking approach to business education.

Business “Convergence Zone”
Preparing students for the corporate environment of today and into the future necessitates a learning environment that embodies team-based strategic operations, teamwork and relationship-building that are paramount in an increasingly complex global arena. Paccar Hall is a powerful example of how the core dynamic of modern business education can become embedded in the architectural design.
The design provides an ideal environment for fostering collaboration and teamwork. Virtually every aspect of the building invites students to work together and provides technologies to assist them to collectively address business issues, concerns, and problems. For example:

Central “gallery” space – A four-story high, glazed atrium that runs the length of Paccar Hall supports a diversity of group interaction fundamental to business education programs. Classrooms of varying sizes, breakout rooms, student commons, a cafe and covered terrace areas are organized around this central space to interconnect the around-the-clock presence of students, faculty, staff and visitors. From circulation between classes to small-group study sessions, special events, receptions and many other programmed functions, the gallery provides extensive flexibility to adapt to changing needs of the school’s business and education communities.

Tiered, U-shaped classrooms – Designed to cultivate interactive student-to-student discussion, tiered classrooms and associated small breakout rooms are finely tuned to programmatic and technical needs associated with teamwork and relationship building skills—key qualities of successful business leaders . Natural light, with appropriate solar control, is provided to the spaces to enhance quality of space and human

Rooted But Reaching Out
Part of the Foster School’s strategy to become the nation’s top public business school involves leveraging Seattle’s assets—its location on the Pacific Rim and its connection to so many leading-edge companies. The completion of Paccar Hall will bolster the school’s competitiveness, attracting the best and brightest students, the leading minds for faculty, and the top companies as partners for internships and action-learning opportunities. For example:

Variety of spaces for presentations and speaking engagements – Over the course of one quarter, 400 to 500 speakers from the region and around the globe visit the business school. With its new variety of spaces, from 25-seat classrooms to a 250-seat auditorium, the school will be able to tailor the presentation environment for the speaker and the audience.