Connecting architecture and landscape: 2016 Lumen Award winners
Architecture, Landscape, and Light
Two recent projects by BuroHappold Engineering— honored last week with Lumen Awards for Lighting Design from the Illuminating Engineering Society New York City Section—underscore the role of lighting in shaping not only the interior experience of architecture, but also the connection between architecture and landscape.
Although they are quite different in program and context, the highly acclaimed Grace Farms in New Canaan, CT, and the LEED Platinum-certified Hillman Hall at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, both illustrate the considerations that arise when lighting a glass-enclosed building. Creating integrated lighting solutions that enhance programmatic functionality, complement the architectural vision, and respond to the surrounding site was key to each project’s success.
Designed by SANAA with Handel Architects, Grace Farms composes rolling Connecticut landscape and a sinuous 1,400-foot-long building into a unique place where visitors can experience nature and engage with the foundation’s cultural and social mission. To maintain a sense of transparency and connectivity with the landscape at night, exterior lights illuminate the underside of the gently curved eave, tempering interior reflections, while uplit trees beyond draw the eye outward. Inside the lighting creates a unique character for each main space and provides flexibility for a range of uses, particularly in the multipurpose “court.” All lighting elements are strategically sited or integrated into the architecture to conceal them from neighboring properties. From a distance at night, the River building reads only as a softly glowing form in the landscape.
Designed by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners with Mackey Mitchell Architects, Hillman Hall is a major expansion of Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work. A centerpiece of the new building is the Forum, a glazed, multipurpose hub that connects with the school’s two existing buildings and serves as a gathering place for the larger campus community. A system of 1,900 feet of indirect, dimmable LED uplights—set in concentric rings and neatly integrated within the ceiling along with MEP and audiovisual systems—adjusts to create the ideal setting, whether for a formal dinner, panel discussion, or movie screening. Day-to-day, the uplit ceiling imbues the Forum with a warm, welcoming presence that is highly visible from approaching vistas.
Since its opening in 2015, the Forum has become a popular campus venue, serving a high number of students from beyond the Brown School and significantly exceeding projections for private space rentals. As with Grace Farms, lighting shapes the character and augments the flexibility of space, allowing it to serve a wider range of needs while defining the building’s presence within its larger setting.
Lumen award-winning designs by BuroHappold Engineering
Grace Farms, New Canaan, CT, USA
Gently flowing down the hillside, the River building at Grace Farms, designed by SANAA with Handel Architects, imbues a sense of calm. The walkways, courtyards, and glass-enclosed volumes that form beneath its 1,400-foot-long sinuous roof are remarkably transparent, inviting people to engage with the expansive surroundings and draw inspiration from nature, encounter the arts, pursue justice, foster community, and explore faith. The lighting seamlessly supports this mission, creating a sublime evening experience for its community.
Washington University In St. Louis, Hillman Hall, St. Louis, MO, USA
Hillman Hall at Washington University in St. Louis, designed by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners with Mackey Mitchell Architects, is an expansion to the Brown School of Social Work. The lighting design brings together the school’s three buildings: Hillman, Goldfarb and Brown, creating a singular identity with Hillman’s Forum at its heart. Lighting enhances the building’s flexibility and transparency, inviting the campus community inside to explore.