A former prison wall serves as a rugged backdrop for the streamlined events space.
Michael Moran/OTTO A former prison wall serves as a rugged backdrop for the streamlined events space.

Bounded on three sides by a 20-foot-tall glass curtainwall, the James A. Michener Art Museum’s Edgar N. Putman Pavilion is flooded with daylight during most of its operating hours. Because it is dedicated to preserving the rustic heritage of its home of Bucks County in eastern Pennsylvania, lighting designer Sean O'Connor opted for a simple but adaptive lighting solution that incorporated a key element of the historic site’s former use as a prison--it's perimeter stone wall.

The stone wall lines the site’s perimeter and follows the pavilion’s contours on two sides while matching it in height. Although Sean O'Connor Lighting was originally commissioned only to focus on lighting the pavilion’s interior, O'Connor and his team appealed to the museum director and the architects--Philadelphia-based KieranTimberlake--of the need to illuminate the surrounding stone landscaping. Because the budget could not accommodate the additional fixtures, the lighting designers suggested raising funds by providing donors with an engraved brick placed next to the fixture that their donation supplied.

The color temperature of exterior wallwashers was designed to match that of the interior illumination.
Michael Moran/OTTO The color temperature of exterior wallwashers was designed to match that of the interior illumination.

The lighting designers selected an in-grade LED wall-grazing solution with a narrow 10-degree beam spread, and whose warm color temperature matched that of the pavilion’s interior luminaires, maintaining uniform visuals while highlighting the stone’s rugged features and keeping the bordering pedestrian pathways glare-free.

To maintain the clean architectural lines of the pavilion, O’Connor conceived of a series of linear ceiling slats to conceal surface-mounted downlights each lamped with a dimmable halogen PAR38. The slots also hide retractable mounts for theatrical fixtures and audio-visual gear, as well as other building systems.

Because the space is used for events, O’Conner implemented a centralized dimming system fitted with DMX controls that are operable with a touch-screen interface. Users can set custom lighting scenes and sequences to meet their specific needs.

The result is a stunning architectural jewel box that combines a contemporary interior with a time-worn exterior showpiece.

A view of the stone wall (left) and the pavilion (right).
Michael Moran/OTTO A view of the stone wall (left) and the pavilion (right).

A view of the sculpture garden and the pavilion beyond.
Michael Moran/OTTO A view of the sculpture garden and the pavilion beyond.


Details

Project: Edgar N. Putman Pavilion and surrounding exterior lighting, James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pa.  
Client: James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pa. 
Architect: KieranTimberlake, Philadelphia 
Lighting Designer: Sean O’Connor Lighting, Beverly Hills, Calif.    
Photographer: Michael Moran/OTTO   
Project Size: 2,500 square feet (pavilion)    
Project Cost: Not available   
Lighting Cost: $15,000 (pavilion); $57,000 (exterior)   
Code Compliance Information: IECC 2009 (pavilion and exterior)   
Watts: 1W per Square Foot (pavilion); 3W per linear foot (exterior)  

Manufacturers (Pavilion)
ETC (Elliptical projector using proprietary ETC lamps for theatrical fixtures)  
Kurt Versen (Recessed, square tungsten halogen downlights using GE Lighting’s 100W T4 mini candelabra base lamps for vestibule lighting)
Litelab (Busport system for lighting and A/V equipment)
Rambusch Lighting (Surface-mounted LED cylinder downlights using GE Lighting’s 100W HIR PAR lamps)

Manufacturers (Exterior)
Bega (Recessed, square steplights with an integral 3300K LED for the exterior stairs)
Targetti (Linear in-grade LED uplight with an integral 3000K LED for wall-grazing)
Winscape (Stake-mounted LED uplight with an integral 3000K LED for landscape lighting)