The new 12,000-square-foot addition to the Stapleton Library on Staten Island is a luminous rectangular box that flowed easily from the previous structure.
Public libraries have always played a civic role, serving both as communal gathering spaces and as vehicles for providing free access to information for all. That dual service, and the responsibility that comes with it, has never been more important as society completes it transitions to the digital age. Libraries around the United States need to continue to be that place where anyone can go to check out the latest book, use reference materials, and take his or her kids to story hour. But today’s libraries also have to provide computer stations that have Internet access and all types of media in digital formats.
The village of Stapleton on the south shore of the New York City borough of Staten Island is one community that understands the importance of having a library as a public amenity—and what it means when that resource is in jeopardy.
The lighting scheme designed by CBBLD Lighting Design captures the essence of the architecture both in its form and in its material sensibility. CBBLD challenged themselves to see if they could find a single lamp type that could meet the needs of the entire project. “We went around the building looking at what needed to be lit and where we could put the light,” Bernstein says. The CBBLD team decided on a 4-foot T5 linear fluorescent suspended fixtures. (Since the project started in 2009, LED technology wasn’t yet at the forefront of luminaire offerings as it is today.) In the main reading room and community room, the decision translates into a 28W 3000K T5 linear fluorescent direct/indirect pendant that provides 25 foot candles. These luminaires are suspended from aircraft cable and align with the horizontal mullions of the windows and the vertical wood columns of the front curtainwall. The rectangular form of the fixtures complements the shape of the Douglas fir ceiling beams and the fixture’s datum of light becomes another architectural feature. “There isn’t much reliance on over-decoration,” Bernstein says. “The decoration is the palette of materials that were being used. Our lighting had to respond to that, and in its own way had to be an architectural element within the space.”
David Hakimi is a lighting specialist and one of the co-founders of Alcon Lighting. A graduate of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), David works on the front lines of the energy-efficient lighting revolution, enabling architects, designers, and lighting engineers to transition from outmoded halogen and fluorescent lighting. David takes particular pride in Alcon’s design, energy, and green building knowledge, tracing his and Alcon’s commitment to quality, innovation, accountability and value back to the lessons learned from his father, a Southern California lighting salesman and consultant for more than two decades. Passionate about climate change and protecting the environment, David has been particularly valuable in ensuring that his clients and customers comply with rapidly-evolving green building codes.
At Alcon Lighting’s LA headquarters, co-founder David Hakimi adopted a 12 year-old dog named Nano and decided to bring him into the office every day. Let’s just say it garnered some attention. It quickly became clear that Nano, who’s now 14 years old, relishes a long nap. Nano likes to hop and curl up in an easy chair, resting his head on the arm, drifting into slumber. In fact, David says this is Nano’s favorite activity.
If the work of lighting design was just left to services engineers to meet regulation-determined illuminance criteria per application, then interior and exterior architectural spaces would become soulless environments. Using qualitative measurements, architects and lighting designers can make sure the architectural intention and aesthetic character of a space is not compromised.
“98% of what gets built today is sh**. There’s no sense of design nor respect for humanity or anything. They’re bad buildings and that’s it.” – Frank Gehry. Fun fact: One of Frank Gehry’s most famous works as an architect is his own private Santa Monica residence.
The term Architectural Lighting encompasses three main factors. The first is the building’s aesthetic, which is crucial for any commercial, especially retail, environment. The second consideration is ergonomic or functional — any aspect which improves one’s ability to live, work, function, relax or play — to make the space easier to use. The third aspect involves the efficiency of energy, ensuring that light is properly, which is to say economically or optimally, used and distributed.
In 2016, Architectural Lighting interviewed lighting designer and founder of Pfarré Lighting Design, Gerd Pfarré, shedding light on the legendary designer’s process, what’s most important when lighting a space and what the future holds for lighting. While Pfarré’s is a career is a storied one, he did not start out in the industry.