One part of a multiphase expansion of the Kansas City, Mo., convention center, Bartle Hall is a departure from traditional “black box” ballrooms that offer no context to site orientation or exterior surroundings. Instead, the space is filled with daylight that pours through clerestories on the north, east, and west sides of the room. Translucent stretched-fabric panels measuring 8-, 15-, and 30-feet, respectively, on the north, west, and east sides of the ballroom border the ceiling perimeter, diffusing the sunlight as it moves across the space over the course of the day.

Working independently of and in concert with the natural light, electric lighting was used to meet the diverse programmatic needs of the ballroom, providing both general illumination and task lighting. Two features of the electric lighting scheme stand out. First are the custom polished aluminum ring luminaires suspended from the ceiling. Ranging in size from 2 ½ feet to 50 feet in diameter, they house warm-white light-emitting diodes (LED), oriented upward to reflect in the specular metal panel ceiling. Second is the LED lighting system made up of two banks of LEDs: one to backlight the stretched-fabric ceiling panels, and the other to graze the 30-foot-tall white-painted glass fiber reinforced gypsum wall panels that line three sides of the room. A sophisticated control system brings it all together. Each fixture can be independently programmed to accommodate specific room configurations.

The project strikes a balance between conceptual and practical objectives, a great asset for a project where the design could have pursued typical layout strategies—inward-focused spaces devoid of connection to the outside and light. Rather, the design provides the unexpected—daylight—and in turn creates a compelling space not usually associated with this building typology.

Jury Comments
Randy Burkett: Skillful blend of electrical and natural light conserves energy, while providing near endless flexibility for the client.

Jean Sundin: This project is a beautiful blend of both worlds—daylight and artificial lighting.

David Ziolkowski: What a space! The lighting brings the wall material to life. The decorative pendants add depth, scale, and sparkle.

Location: Kansas City, Mo.
Client: City of Kansas City, Mo.
Architect/Interior Designer: HNTB, Kansas City, Mo.
Lighting Designer: Derek Porter Studio, Kansas City, Mo.
Photographer: Michael Spillers, Kansas City, Mo.
Project Size: 135,000 square feet (including the 46,450-square-foot-ballroom)
Manufacturers: Armstrong, Bega, Ceilings Plus, Construction Specialties, Draper, Elliptipar, ETC, Focal Point, H.E. Williams, Infinity, Kurt Versen, Litecontrol, Louis Poulsen, Modular, Modular Arts, Naturalite Skylight Systems, Newmat USA, Oldcastle Glass, Osram, Performance Solitions, Philips, Power Vector, Selux, Starfield Controls, Tridonic, Winona Lighting