Thoughtful lighting design
The use of daylight as the primary source of exhibit lighting was crucial to Thomas Phifer and Partners’ architectural concept. We worked closely with the design team to fill the 127,00ft2 gallery with diffuse, even sunlight.
Subtle but active daylight creates a dynamic atmosphere which enhances the viewing experience.
Dual light sources
Natural light enters the galleries through both the façade and the ceiling, which we customised for the project’s location and climate. Balancing the two sources required careful material selection and detailed analysis.
The gallery’s 362 skylights feature external louvers to block direct sunlight and specialised glass to protect artwork from UV rays. Movable fabric inserts of different strengths allow for wide variations in daylight penetration throughout the gallery.
Computer-regulated systems deploy opaque shades at the gallery’s perimeter during periods of intense sunlight, preventing excessive amounts of light from entering through the side of the building.
The building’s electric lighting system responds to changing levels of daylight using a calibrated photocell on the roof which continually monitors available light. Typically, approximately half of the electric fixtures in gallery spaces remain off during daytime hours. One circuit provides constant focal light for the art.
Protecting sensitive artworks
A custom-designed roller shade and drapery system blocks direct sunlight from entering spaces with sensitive artwork. Three types of fabric with different light transmittance qualities are used in varying combinations to allow appropriate levels of daylight into each space, according to conservation requirements.