The Lighting Control Innovation Award was created in 2011 as part of the Illuminating Engineering Society’s Illumination Awards program, which recognizes professionalism, ingenuity and originality in lighting design. LCA is proud to sponsor the Lighting Control Innovation Award, which recognizes projects that exemplify the effective use of lighting controls in nonresidential applications.
This month, we explore a robust lighting controls installation at the Ford Foundation in New York City. Lighting controls by Lutron, Legrand, and ETC. Lighting control design by LightBox Studios. Photography by Garrett Rowland, courtesy of Gensler.
The Ford Foundation, as it considered the renovation of its landmark- status building, looked to create a space that amply reflected the organization’s social justice mission: an environment that was open, inclusive and accessible, with a strong emphasis on sustainability. As a designated landmark, the building is subject to strict requirements and had not been substantially renovated since original construction was completed in 1968. The newly realized—and newly named—Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice opened in 2018.
In line with the Foundation’s social justice mission, a key element of the renovation was to create a genuine public forum, a welcoming, accessible gathering place conducive to social interaction and open communication. Two full floors are now dedicated to meeting and event spaces, and the historic Atrium and new art gallery are fully accessible and open to the public. Each of these space types present individualized lighting requirements that call for refined coordination. To that end, a building-wide lighting control system was provided that facilitated simultaneous control of zoned lighting scenes while affording maximum flexibility from zone to zone. Each floor’s lighting controls tie into processors connected together via the building’s infrastructure. A combination of large panels and small panels were used to accommodate existing closet dimensions. The building lighting control scheme includes daylighting harvesting, integration to AV systems, and occupancy/vacancy sensors—a system that allows for fine-tuned space-specific adjustments. Scheduling of the controls was refined with input from the owner, lighting consultant, IT staff and building operators, and underwent numerous reviews and adjustments during construction to achieve the exact look and functionality envisioned by the Foundation’s project requirements. In the end, the centralized control system provides a flexible backbone for future development, and the schedule establishes a viable template for the seamless integration of floor-by-floor lighting schemes.
The building has a mix of open offices, private offices, conference rooms, event spaces and galleries, each providing proper zones and user controls.
The atrium is lined by corridors, which are zoned and controlled together so that the atrium has a consistent look from inside and outside.
The Foundation regularly hosts events involving multiple floors. An extensive programming schedule was created to coordinate spatial requirements with lighting solutions that addressed occupant-specific needs.
Daylight harvesting was utilized on all perimeter spaces as well as spaces with fenestration along the atrium.
Dimmable light fixtures respond to inputs from a series of photosensors, adjusting themselves to provide a consistent light level regardless of the quantity of daylight.
The owner is able to set up a schedule of programming changes prior to the event and fine-tune to the exact requirements of the event.
The schedule underwent ongoing review and revision during construction and post-occupancy to fine-tune the settings for a coordinated and balanced aesthetic effect.
The project was awarded LEED Platinum CI (ASHRAE 90.1-2007) and exceeded standards by providing occupancy sensors in open areas and vacancy sensors in conference rooms.