The Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, Calif., is part of the Orange County Performing Arts Center and features an undulating transparent glass wall that disappears at night as the interior rear wall is washed with light. With a mixture of metal halide lamps and light-emitting diode (LED) technology in its lighting scheme, created by New York–based Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design (CBBLD), the 26,000-square-foot space, including both the lobby and the concert hall, uses fewer watts than California's Title 24 energy code requires.

A circular staircase in the multi-tiered lobby is lined with donor names engraved on dichroic glass panels and illuminated by high-intensity discharge framing projectors. Above the stairs, a 40-foot-diameter chandelier descends from a fiber optic color-changing cove along the ceiling. The chandelier creates a spiral effect, made of 300 stainless steel rods of varying lengths. The tip of each rod features a custom-designed Baccarat crystal illuminated by one 1W 3000K white LED.

Inside the concert hall, the balconies curve “as if they have the fluidity of a sound wave,” says Francesca Bettridge, president and principal of CBBLD. The balcony curves emulate the undulating glass of the façade, and Bettridge points out that the architect, Cesar Pelli, always had it in his mind that the front of the balconies would be illuminated. To achieve this, LEDs are concealed behind lightly frosted lenses in a small recess while wallwashers illuminate the wood walls and sconces mark the openings to the reverberation chambers behind the walls.

Bettridge explains that the project, completed in February 2007, had a time frame “long enough for LED technology to change” so it could be introduced to achieve the lighting design. The dynamic use of solid-state lighting taught the team at CBBLD a lot about the technology, Bettridge says, and the energy-efficient design created reinforces the architectural elements of the lobby and concert hall.

Jury Comments
Kathy Abernathy: The icing on the cake is the magnificently designed and executed LED chandelier in the lobby that crawls down the stairwell.

Laura Briggs: Masterful execution. All the needs of a space are integrated into gestures that become central architectural elements.

Randy Burkett: The concert hall lighting details provide a beautiful revelation to the interior architectural forms.

Jean Sundin: It was surprising how much the designers were able to do while meeting the energy restrictions.

David Ziolkowski: The most fun of all projects under consideration for awards this year.

Location: Costa Mesa, Calif.
Client: Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Architect: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, New Haven, Conn.
Lighting Designer: Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design, New York
Project Size: 26,000 square feet (lobby and concert hall)
Watts per Square Foot: 2 (lobby); 2.3 (concert hall)
Manufacturers: Artemide, Creative Light Source, Designplan, Drama Lighting, Edison Price, Elliptipar, Illuminating Experiences, LED Effects, Lite Raze, Visual Lighting Technologies