A Quaker institution, the Sidwell Friends School wanted to transform an old gymnasium into a meeting and worship space. The school hired architects KieranTimberlake to deliver a design that would embody the Quaker ideals of light and simplicity. The architects in turn worked with Arup to develop a lighting scheme that would balance daylight and electric light to create a pristine and spiritual environment.

The architecture consists of a series of flat, white planes cut with reveals and openings to create a sense of depth throughout the project. The lighting designers took advantage of these pockets in the planar surfaces to conceal the luminaires. In the hallways and lobby areas, angled asymmetric T5HO covelights complement the dropped ceiling panels, providing balanced interior illumination. PAR30 halogen tracklighting, also concealed within the cove, directs attention to student art that is displayed on the walls.

The lighting scheme for the Quaker meeting room, which is the building's largest space, centers around a skylight framed by floating ceiling planes. The large volume, once the gym, also features a clerestory and vertical window in one corner, which allows in additional daylight. T5HO fixtures integrated in the room's wall monitors give these apertures a presence at night. Additional T5HO fixtures concealed behind the scrim walls highlight the intersecting planes and cast light into the lower reaches of the room, where daylight can't extend.

Jury Comments: A lot of thought went into the articulation of the space and how it would be lit. • It's refreshingly simple, but it doesn't mean it isn't a complex lighting design.


Project: The Sidwell Friends School Meeting House and Arts Center, Washington, D.C.
Architect: KieranTimberlake, Philadelphia
Lighting Designer: Arup, New York
Photographer: Michael Moran Studio
Project Size: 33,027 square feet
Project Cost: Not available
Lighting Cost: $330,000
Watts per Square Foot: 1.9
Manufacturers: Corelite (Cooper Lighting), Focal Point, Neoray (Cooper Lighting), Pinnacle, RSA (Cooper Lighting)