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 well planned lighting control solution installed at the Denver Botanic Gardens Freyer-Newman Center for Science, Art, and Education in Denver, Colorado. Lighting control design by Davis Partnership-BCER. Photography by Jake Holschuh Photography and Frank Ooms Photography. Lighting controls primarily by Crestron.
The 50,000 square foot Center for Science, Art and Education is the long-awaited final component of a botanic garden campus in Denver, adding much-needed education, gallery, auditorium, and archival spaces. The beloved institution, 24 acres in size, is sited amid an historic residential area with a vocal neighborhood organization. The location was both thrilling and challenging for the design team, making a sensitive lighting and controls design that fit the nighttime neighborhood context crucial.
The Gardens’ desire to be responsible neighbors by managing light at the neighborhood boundary ensured that lighting controls discussions began early in the project. The Gardens required an adjustable system capable of tuning light levels after the project’s completion, both in support of their evolving program as well as the neighborhood sensitivity. Even during aiming and controls scene setting, the team received ongoing feedback from neighborhood representatives to ensure the light levels were appropriate for the residential context.
With a diverse program including public auditorium, library, indoor and outdoor classrooms, offices, research and collections spaces, the designers worked extensively with seven different user groups and the facilities team to define each area’s controls needs, sequence of operations, and method of maintenance and programming. A unique wired/wireless hybrid lighting control system utilizing multiple control protocols satisfied the Gardens’ requirement for flexibility to update programming in response to evolving occupant needs over time.
In addition to meeting the project’s stringent budget and fast-paced schedule, the lighting controls design contributed to LEED Gold certification and a lighting design 20% below 2015 IECC allowed usage. App-based and touchscreen control offer an intuitive interface for stakeholders to adjust lighting levels, scenes and automation settings at any time, an activity the design team has witnessed the Curator and A/V Director enthusiastically undertaking on several post-occupancy visits.
Lighting controls allowed the team to set a hierarchical composition focused on the atrium visible inside, enhancing and celebrating the architecture through illumination.
After nightfall, the system manages light emitted from neighborhood-facing façades via multiple presets. A public art installation is visible in the background.
Atrium daylight responsive controls strike a balance between different elements of light and shadow from the skylight’s wood louvers to the structural steel tree forms.
Two-circuit track lighting in the gallery spaces is controlled with ELV dimmers. Curators rely greatly on the phone-based app when setting levels during exhibit installations.
The library required shade controls, along with manual and daylight responsive controls, reinforcing “good neighbor” goals by reducing brightness outside while occupants work inside.
In Botanical Illustration classrooms, tunable white lighting replicates sunrise, midday, sunset, and full moon conditions students might encounter on location. This is the “midday” scene.
Each scene was defined, set, and named under the watchful guidance of the program’s director. This image shows the “sunset” scene, the design team’s favorite.
DALI-based controls simplified installation while providing a dynamic local system. This is the “moonlight” scene. Each scene name is engraved on the room’s keypads.
A networked phase-cut dimming panel in the auditorium enables freedom in the lighting and flexibility to create assorted presets which complement the room’s numerous functions.
The auditorium controls include a wireless touchscreen with an intuitive interface. After meticulously setting light levels, presets were saved for easy recall via the touchscreen.