LEVERAGE: Strengthening Neighborhoods Through Design


City Hall was a colossal-size canvas

Styling a Second Empire: A Light and Sound Experience
will be on display at the LEVERAGE: Strengthening Neighborhoods through Design exhibition from October 1 through the 23 at the Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street, Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM and Sunday from 12 PM to 5 PM. This exhibit was curated by the Collaborative as part of its 20th-Anniversary celebration.

LEVERAGE presents fifty innovative community design projects and programs by design firms, nonprofit groups, and public agencies from Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, Dallas, and beyond. The Lighting Practice contributed to Strengthening Neighborhoods Through Design in City Hall.

City Hall was a colossal-size canvas, and with its animated graphics, moving lights and color-changing effects, Styling a Second Empire: A Light and Sound Experience re-interpreted its architectural elements, enabling us to see one of Philadelphia’s most outstanding buildings – and the surrounding neighborhood — in an entirely different way.

Philadelphia is a City of Neighborhoods, and at its center for more than 100 years has been Philadelphia City Hall.  In Spring 2011, students from the University of the Arts, collaborating with lighting designers from The Lighting Practice and sound system designers from Metropolitan Acoustics, set out to enliven the city’s skyline by casting the century-old building as a performer in a free, month-long, outdoor art display in the heart of Philadelphia’s arts and culture scene.  The team engaged in workshop sessions to develop the lighting and music concepts, system design and program content that became the centerpiece element of a four-block display that unified more than a dozen buildings in a ballet of light.

Not only did the project encompass the students’ own Center City campus neighborhood, but it also served to welcome the many visitors in town during the city’s first-ever Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, and the city’s first hosting of the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting tradeshow, LIGHTFAIR.


Photography by Emad Hasan, The Lighting Practice

Styling A Second Empire: A Light and Sound Experience

Styling A Second Empire: A Light and Sound Experience