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Qatar National Convention Centre Wins IES Lighting Control Innovation Award Of Merit

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. In the award’s second year (2012), 13 projects were recognized with an Award of Merit.

This month, we will explore how a robust lighting control scheme designed by Illuminart (Robert M. White, lighting designer) and Light and Design (Lee Prince, lighting designer) satisfied the large, complex requirements of the Qatar National Convention Centre, operated by the Qatar Foundation. Photography by Robert M. White, Lee Prince and Kalmar Thomas.

Control solutions used:

Site wide: Philips Strand Visionnet control system with site wide Ethernet employing DMX/ACN protocol with house/production lighting, banqueting suite via control of dynamic lowering and opening chandeliers (Oyster Lights) using color change DMX controls. The control system interfaces with monitored winching systems allowing a “Light Ballet” to be performed to preset sequences. Control system linked to Building Management system employing Remote Device Management for energy monitoring and five year lighting system Planned Preventative Maintenance. Lighting control system also linked to daylight control for main foyers and drop off areas and to Security Patrol lighting using personal sensing to allow security routes to be frequently changed and security walk through lighting automatically adapted accordingly.

Architectural lighting within main entrance foyer: Here, 180 MAC 575 moving head projectors with full color change and rotating Gobos the show scenes were pre programmed off site using WYSIWYG software then remotely uploaded onto Visionnet and final tweaking of show sequences undertaken on site. DMX Protocol was used.

Production lighting to theaters: Thyrister dimming with modular portable dimmers to the 100-meter-square 18-meter-high exhibition hall.

The project:

This 1,000,000-sq.ft. convention center has the daunting requirement for lighting/systems control that includes 23,000 lighting fittings, architectural lighting presets, pre-programmed and live theatrical and intelligent moving lights, motorized lifts, color changing LED and meshing to a complex security system.

Interior and exterior lighting is all controllable as part of the building’s energy management and security system which uses an extensive DMX network with multiple universes, connected to switching and dimming racks, and triggerable DMX recording devices.

Lobby and concourses have scheduled lighting presets to vary light levels during the course of the day and night and for event use. Card swipe devices throughout the building allow lighting to be activated in any area by roving security staff.

Backlit RGBW LED panels are programmed to give the impression of skylighting during daytime hours.

At night the panels are pre-programmed to go through any number of sequences which tie together with intelligent moving lights and in floor LED uplighting.

Pre-programmed effects include template projection on surfaces.

Preset color, template, and movement sequences are executed via the control system or live through a theatrical lighting console.

Performance halls are also connected and controllable by the building control system. Lighting consoles can grab touchscreen preset stations and control/dimming racks and combine them with live theatrical production. Preset architectural control restarts at the termination of theatrical control.

The control system is expandable to absorb temporary theatrical and exhibit lighting.

Preset color changes and supervised motorized hoists are overridden by security and fire alarm systems which bring all spaces to full brightness in case of emergency.

Energy Efficiency:

The lighting controls are a major benefit in seeking LEED gold status and maximizing lamp and related equipment life (ballasts, drivers, etc.).


Budget numbers for lighting control were established early and a performance specification helped achieve competitive bids.

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