Lighting designer Ann Kale was challenged by several stringent stipulations for this academic building, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and completed in 2002. At the client's request, the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre, a new academic facility for environmental studies at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, was styled after the traditional Georgian vocabulary and brick-and-limestone palette employed by the surrounding campus buildings. In addition to these aesthetic requirements, the client also wanted the building to be energy efficient, which, in terms of lighting, effectively ruled out the use of abundant incandescent sources. 'Stern doesn't like the institutional feel of fluorescent, however,' relays Kale. 'Therefore, the challenge of the project was to make compact fluorescent decorative fixtures provide the lion's share of the lighting, while appearing as if they were lamped with incandescent.'

To solve this problem, all of the fluorescent sources-which include 3000K dimmable 18W, 26W and 32W compact fluorescent lamps-are housed in amber-tinted glass that emits a warm glow when illuminated, simulating the look of incandescent. The glass, specified by the architect, is hand-blown, hand-stained, and etched on the interior surface.

A second challenge was calculating how many lumens were necessary to deliver sufficient ambient light. 'Stern will accept recessed downlights in this style of building only when absolutely necessary,' relates Kale, so almost all of the light sources are housed in decorative fixtures that were custom designed by the architect. In order to conduct calculations before the lamp designs were finalized, Kale explains, 'we tested many different types of fixtures, which allowed us to study varying results, since we didn't know what the fixtures would look like. This allowed us to give the architect some guidelines on how many lamps at what wattages we needed from each fixture.'

The building-sited on a hilltop-is visible throughout the campus, marked by a cupola that is illuminated at night by ceramic metal halide uplights. Metal halide high-bay pendants also create a glow in the greenhouse that occupies the central length of the building. Decorative fluorescent fixtures illuminated by a series of pendants, chandeliers and wall sconces adorn interior spaces, such as a lobby below the cupola and a 'garden room' where students can lounge and study. In the 124-seat auditorium and in a multimedia-equipped conference room, however, the decorative fixtures give way to lighting options better suited to high-tech media displays: semi-recessed downlights in the auditorium and a fluorescent-illuminated laylight in the conference room.

While the limited use of direct light sources in this project posed a challenge, says Kale, 'the nice thing about using a lot of ambient light is that it makes the rooms feel more open and airy, creating a nice connection to the other half of the facility, the botanic gardens.' A|L


Project: K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada

Lighting design: Ann Kale Associates, Santa Barbara, CA

Architecture: Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York City

Project size: 65,000 square feet

Watts per square foot 1.8

Photographer: Peter Aaron/Esto

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