Germany’s premier lighting magazine, LICHT, recently featured the University of Pennsylvania’s Moelis Family Grand Reading Room, noting how the lighting concept “creates a place of clarity and tranquility.” Filled with daylight, the 5,500-square-foot sound-proof study room offers students and faculty a dedicated quiet space. The Lighting Practice’s Michael Barber, Ryan Conover, and John Conley, working closely with architect Gensler and the university, designed a 3500K LED lighting and daylight control system to balance natural and electric light.
In collaboration with the lighting manufacturer, the team integrated customized task lights into the reading room’s tabletop surface. The customized fixtures provide users with the ability to adjust the angle of light on either side of the table. All fixtures, including the tabletop task lights, are linked to the lighting control system.
Special attention was paid to the triptych landscape mural by Claudy Jongstra, the primary design feature of the room. LED linear grazers were strategically placed to evenly illuminate the mural, bringing out the rich wool texture, which Jongstra harvested from her own flock of sheep. Pendant mounted LED downlights provide ambient light and create a starry night effect, complementing the landscape mural.
The publication notes that The Lighting Practice’s design “… harmonizes creatively with the interior design and illuminates all areas of the reading room evenly with the various ceiling heights. Targeted light fits discreetly into the room structure and creates a concentrated learning environment with a feel-good atmosphere, which makes the Moelis Family Grand Reading Room a popular location for students and teachers.”
The team at The Lighting Practice thanks the writers and editors at LICHT for featuring this innovative project in their publication.
Inspirational Learning World – The New Moelis Family Grand Reading Room at the University of Pennsylvania
LICHT | 2018
The University of Pennsylvania is one of the most prestigious universities in the world and one of the oldest colleges in America. With more than 17,000 employees, she is also the largest private employer in Philadelphia. Last year, the library was expanded to include a soundproof reading and study room for students and teachers. The lighting concept of The Lighting Practice creates a place of particular clarity and tranquility with targeted lighting on 511 square meters. The lighting optimally uses the natural daylight entry and ensures a tidy and concentrated learning atmosphere.
The new Moelis Family Grand Reading Room at the University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center previously served as a journals library. After a sensitive reconstruction, a reading room for concentrated learning was created here in the modern brick building of 1962 last year in the tradition of European reading rooms. With a ceiling height of up to six meters and generous window areas on both sides, the room is flooded with light and offers views of the vibrant campus life everywhere. To ensure an absolutely concentrated learning atmosphere, the reading room was also soundproofed.
In close cooperation with the architectural firm Gensler, The Lighting Practice TLP has developed a restrained lighting concept for the new reading room, which ensures optimal visual conditions throughout the day. The main design element and visual attraction in the new reading room is a wall relief by the Dutch artist Claudy Jongstra. The art object ‘Fields of Transformation’ is a symbol of how learning becomes knowledge and knowledge becomes wisdom. Linear luminaires by Lumenpulse from the Lumenfacade series illuminate the relief evenly and, with a color temperature of 3500 K, perfectly emphasize the texture of the art object made of felt and pure silk.
In the areas with high ceilings, downlights of the QUBE 300 LX series from V2 Lighting take over the basic lighting. The suspended lamps with a luminous flux of up to 3000 lumens are cleverly integrated into the lamellar ceiling construction and create a sparkling effect that is reminiscent of stars, especially in the dark. In study areas with a moderate ceiling height, recessed spotlights from Usai provide the basic illumination. The square downlights of the BeveLED Mini product family ensure a pleasant light. This is complemented by specially designed table lamps by Flos / Lukas Lighting on the work desks as needed and allows students to flexibly configure their reading light for books and eBooks. The table lighting is only dimmable via the central control to ensure a uniform appearance.
The Lighting Practice consistently used a neutral color temperature of 3500 K in all areas. At first, a warmer light color was planned, but it soon became apparent that the chosen color temperature optimally matched the high daylight input through the generous window surfaces during the various seasons. Sensors in strategic locations measure the light intensity, and the daylight control mixes artificial light when needed. Depending on the position of the sun, automatic sunshades shade the generous windows.
The restrained lighting concept of The Lighting Practice harmonizes creatively with the light interior design and design and illuminates all areas of the reading room evenly with the various ceiling heights. The targeted light guide fits discreetly into the room structure and creates a concentrated learning environment with a feel-good atmosphere, which makes the Moelis Family Grand Reading Room a popular location for students and teachers.
The lighting concept of The Lighting Practice has been honored several times since its completion last year, twice by the International Interior Design Association IIDA and the AIA Philadelphia Design Awards. In 2018, lighting design received an award from the Illuminating Engineering Society IES Philadelphia.