In the bustling commercial district adjacent to the White House, Washington, D.C., area lobbying firms look to make street-visible statements with their namesake entryways. At 1776 Eye Street NW, a refurbishment of a 1980s corporate interior is transformed into a bright, contemporary lobby and elevator bay. The new space greets its corner intersection with a double-height glass-enclosed volume that welcomes visitors into an ethereal setting.
Local lighting design firm MCLA collaborated with local architecture firm Leo A Daly to produce a lighting strategy that would achieve high light-output levels with minimal shadows. The architecture produces rhythmic variation through an emphasis on verticality that increases in tempo the farther one moves into the space. The entry’s glass-walled volume transitions to a stone portal flanked by vertical, edge-lighted glass fins. Beyond the guard desk, backlit glass panels divided by more glass fins that line the entry corridor and continue the visual progression to the elevator bay. Tightly spaced, vertical wood slats, lit with warm-white LED grazing fixtures, form the walls of the elevator bay and mark shifts in both mood and materiality.
An architectural impulse to minimize the visibility of light sources led the lighting designers to coordinate with a fixture manufacturer to develop perforated panel details that would prevent recessed luminaires from overheating. Grazing fixtures concealed in the walls—extruded 3000K linear LED floodlights with medium-flood optics—light the vertical fins of the entryway while minimizing fixture reflections; in the corridor, narrow-distribution luminaires light the smaller glass fins. 2400K LED cove lamps and programmable color-changing RGB fixtures in the lobby and at the guard desk can be controlled to scene presets to mark special occasions and holidays. Subtle 3000K LED pinhole spackle flange downlights provide additional illumination without disrupting the continuity of the ceiling plane, so that visitors encounter cool serenity upon entering the space.
Project: 1776 Eye Street Lobby, Washington, D.C. • Client: DTZ, Washington, D.C. • Architect: Leo A Daly, Washington, D.C. • Lighting Designer: MCLA, Washington, D.C. • Team Members: Frank Feist, Maureen Moran • Photographer: Prakash Patel • Project Size: 2,600 square feet • Project Cost: Withheld • Lighting Cost: $400,000 • Watts per Square Foot: 3.36 • Code Compliance: ASHRAE 90.1 • Manufacturers: Acclaim, Element, Filix, Insight, Kurt Versen, Prolume, Tokistar
• The complexity of the lighting design is striking in the perceived simplicity of its execution. • Light plays off the rich material palette very nicely. • The lighting is well integrated into the interior architecture.