Daylighting Masterpiece: Valparaiso University’s Chapel of the Resurrection

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Once upon a time I was a guest LD for Valparaiso University‘s production of Anna Karenina, that was chosen to go to the American College Theatre Festival (KC/ACTF) Regional show.  There’s only so much cueing you can do in a sitting, and one day I decided to get inspired on campus and visited the University chapel, called the Chapel of the Resurrection.

If you ever have a chance to swing through Valparaiso, Indiana, make a direct stop to see the inside of the Chapel of the Resurrection — this place is absolutely amazing whether you are a believer or an atheist.  Check this out — the Chapel includes an amazing stained glass wall behind the altar (called the Munderloh Windows, designed by Peter Dohmen Studios of St. Paul, MN) which gets a good portion of the daytime sun, giving the Chapel an unbelievably beautiful blue scene.  Some people call it “sermons and sermons of just color.”  From the photo below, I can see why!  Imagine standing in front of this goliath mass of colored translucent magictude:

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About the Chapel of the Resurrection:

Groundbreaking for the Chapel construction took place in 1956. The building was designed by the architectural firm Charles Stade and Associates of Park Ridge, Illinois, though certain elements and features (e.g., the stone baptistry, the stained glass windows, etc.) were designed by other artists. Peter Dohmen Studios of St. Paul, MN designed the 95ft high stained glass windows, as well as the marble interzia altar, and the mosaic at the entrance of the chapel.

The altar is 20 ft long, made of various types of Italian marble. Peter Dohmen designed the inlaid marble pedestals to depict, with symbols, the four evangelists. Matthew is represented by an angel, Mark by a lion, John by an eagle, and Luke by an ox.

Peter Dohmen learned his skills at the top art academies of Europe. He became a well-known artist in Germany during the 1930s, executing major art works, such as stained glass windows, frescos on major public buildings, mosaics, etc. During the early 1940s he was blackballed by the government because of his outspoken opposition of the Nazi party. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1951 and continued his artistic trade with great success. Amongst some of his major works are the stained glass windows in the library of Notre Dame University.

Total construction costs of the chapel were about $7.5 million, much of which came through individual donations.

The building was dedicated in 1959, part of Valparaiso University’s centennial celebration, and officially designated as the Chapel of the Resurrection at the 10th anniversary service in 1969.

The chapel itself is positioned completely east to west, so the building gets as much natural light as possible.  Morning services are incredible, with those Munderloh Windows telling their own stories of times past:

Valparaiso University's "Chapel of the Resurrection," facing east/west in Valparaiso, Indiana

Valparaiso University’s “Chapel of the Resurrection,” facing east/west in Valparaiso, Indiana

These Munderloh windows are quite incredible, I cannot get enough of them!  A world-renowned glass artists (Peter Dohmen) and his assistant Dieterich Spahn created the Munderloh Windows specifically for Valparaiso University back in the early 1960’s.  I highly recommend checking out Dieterich’s work, that man has the stained glass skills of none other.  About those skills:

1938-1961 Early life

Spahn was born in Cologne in 1938. With the outbreak of World War II his family moved to a farm in Sergen, near Cottbus. After the war they moved again to Düsseldorf where Spahn studied the arts and worked with the renowned Düsseldorf artist Günther Uecker. In 1958 he created his first experimental glass panels. Between 1958 and 1960 he studied at the Werkkunstschule where he was exposed to the traditions of the Bauhaus and Jan Thorn Prikker. The following year he traveled extensively throughout southern France and Spain to study light in architecture. During this period he produced a number of watercolors and oil paintings which are now in private collections throughout Germany.

1961 – Move to the United States

In 1961 Dieterich Spahn was invited by the German-born artist Peter Dohmen to work in his St. Paul studio. It was upon his arrival in America that he began intensive activities with stained glass, mosaic and murals for sacred arts applications. He assisted in the production of a number of noteworthy commissions, including the stained glass windows and mosaics for the university chapel at Valparaiso University in Indiana, which became the largest stained glass windows in the United States.

In 1965 he began independent work in graphic arts. Around this time, the death of his mother prompted him to return to Germany where he viewed many works by Georg Meistermann and Ludwig Schaffrath and reestablished contact with the Düsseldorf art scene. This renewed his interest in painting and over the next several years he produced a series of paintings. In 1969 he returned to Germany to study the works of Georg Meistermann in depth.

1971 – Dieterich Spahn & Associates

Upon returning, Spahn entered into partnership with the New York artist Mel Geary to purchase Peter Dohmen Studios. This partnership saw the production of a number of large commissions, until Geary returned to New York in 1971. In this same year Dieterich Spahn & Associates, Inc. was formed, devoted exclusively to stained glass and mosaics for the sacred arts. Over the next decade Spahn worked with George Winterowd and the nationally recognized church architect Ed Sovik to produce 75 commissions around the country totaling more than 400 stained glass windows.

In 1977 Spahn traveled again to Düsseldorf following the unexpected death of his sister to be with his gravely ill father, who died within days of his arrival. Upon his return to Minneapolis he began a series of oil paintings which moved away from religious themes.

1980 – Family

In 1980 he married Joanne Shafer. Around this time he also met Frank Kacmarcik, a monk at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and nationally recognized liturgical and architectural consultant. Spahn served as a guest lecturer at St. John’s University about stained glass and sacred art in the contemporary church environment. He also became a member of the St. Paul Archdiocesan Worship Board for Arts and Environment, a position which he held until 1986. 1984 marked the birth of his first son, Kevin, followed by David in 1987 and Alan in 1989. During this time he created a series of paintings drawing inspiration from the childhood images created by his children.

In 1988 Spahn interrupted his painting for over two years to focus on several major projects in stained glass, including the library window for St. Thomas University.  During this period he also traveled to Düsseldorf to view the art of Joseph Beuys. Beuys’ work had a major, positive influence on Spahn’s perception and understanding of all art.

In 1991 Dieterich Spahn participated in the Wendekreis exhibition in Düsseldorf. This prompted a major change in his painting style upon his return. The next decade saw the production of a series of paintings which departed from traditional techniques of representation, as well as a number of large stained glass projects and commissions for liturgical design and consulting.

In 1999 Spahn again changed his painting style by reevaluating the role of the materials used and began a series which he continues to this day. This series of works reflects the changing role of art in the 21st century. In early 2004 he began a collaboration withWillet Hauser Architectural Glass, the largest stained glass studio in the United States, resulting in a large commission for the Chiara Center.

Also, regarding those windows…  those beautiful Munderloh Windows…  from Valpo’s Munderloh Windows page:

Behind the chancel, rising up 98 feet, the east end of the chapel are the beautiful Munderloh Windows, designed by the Peter Dohmen Studios of St. Paul, Minnesota, which capture the fresh morning sun. Often described as “sermons in color,” the stained glass artistry symbolizes the creative work of God the Father, the redemptive work of God the Son, and the sanctifying work of God the Holy Spirit. Illustrated in the window of the creation are the hands of God, a sun, Adam and Eve, plants and trees, and the serpent of temptation. The window of redemption highlights the life of Christ with symbols including a manger, a cross, drops of blood and angels. The window of sanctification is illustrated with ancient scrolls of the Bible, the dove of the Holy Spirit, an angel with a trumpet, and symbols of education such as a lamp, an owl and the torch from the University seal. The windows may be “read” in a clockwise path beginning in the upper right of each window.

Check these out, the photos are awesome (I guess if I do say so myself, since I took them back in 2003!)

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The nave of the chapel is amazing in its own right, with a clerestory-style set of windows on the north and south sides of the chapel.  Instead of horizontal clerestory, the ports are vertical, which creates some incredible shadow gobos all over everything!

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If you prefer to see all of these photos in a blackbox gallery, click on one of the thumbnails below to check them out!

All photos © Jim Hutchison, 2003

P&O Cruises Ship, The Pacific Pearl, is Twice as Amazing with Projections!

Vivid Sydney 2013 just wrapped up in Sydney, Australia – I mean like on the tenth of June wrapped up.  Vivid Sydney 2013 is a celebration of light around the Sydney Operahouse, and really all around the city!

This year, P&O Cruises took their beauty of a sea vessel, the Pacific Pearl, out for a spin with one small exception — projections all over the boat.  You have GOT to see this!

First, some video:

P&O Cruises – Vivid Sydney 2013 from Romina on Vimeo.

and:

Then, from Alice at MyModernMet, who was apparently in attendance for this amazing visual occasion and makes me very jealous, posted some awesome shots from photog Craig Jewell.  Peep these photos:

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Here’s the Pacific Pearl without any lumen interference:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/craigjewell/with/8853297151/

Flickr user FlashFlyGuy — http://www.flickr.com/photos/9028007@N05/5421600846/in/photostream/

Awesome.  Stay tuned for more from Vivid Sydney 2013! 

 

Tupac Martir’s Satore Studio is About to Rock Your Face

There are a very small group of people who live in our society who see things in the way that we all see things in our heads, but have the ability to take those brilliant, beautiful twilight thoughts and make them real for all to experience.  These people have the ability inside them to transform a location with art and light completely, or tell a story so vivid and so real that the lines between the production they design and the experience the audience has are blurred beyond reality.  My friend Ann Davis is one of those artists, Peter Morse and Jeff Waful are too; TJ Gerckens is one of those artists, as is Martin Kuhn from Moodbox in Switzerland.

This post is about one of those kinds of artists – the kind of person who sees a different color at night than most.  This post is about Tupac Martir of Satore Studio — so, JimOnLight readers, meet Tupac Martir — in this instance talking about one of his works, Nierka:

Now meet Tupac and his Satore Studio:

Show reel from Satore Studio on Vimeo.

It’s a rare occurrence when you meet someone whose ideas are so revolutionary, so different from mainstream thinking that they produce mainstream thinking.  It’s something that we all strive for, but you either have that talent or you do not have that talent.  No matter how much you pay on Yale, sometimes you just don’t have it.  Tupac has this talent; it always frankly just blows my mind when we talk about the projects he’s doing and the work that his firm is plotting.  An example of this would be one of his recent works, Nierka.  Or, if you happened to be at Coachella Music Festival this season back in April 2011, you would have seen Tupac’s work as well (in collaboration with another outstanding design firm, United Visual Artists):

Tupac does all kinds of design work with his firm all over the world.  His touch extends to artists like Beyonce, Elton John, Sting, Jon Bon Jovi — and to the fashion world, bringing his intimate knowledge of lighting to create overwhelmingly beautiful runway events during Fashion Week for designers from Vivienne Westwood to Alexander McQueen and everything in between.  Designers like Tupac Martir (in a small pool of creative visionaries of our day like Neil Austin, Ann Davis, definitely Kevin Adams) are what I see as the next round of Appia and Craig in our society — in other words, these are the kinds of people to bring about the next big change to the way we think about certain things in our lives.  And, if not everyone will see and experience these changes, at least those of us who see their works, experience their art, and perhaps get lucky enough to collaborate on a project can have that realization that comes with seeing the work of a committed visionary.  You have to get it how and while you can get it, right?  I mean, “eh?”

I met Tupac because Nierka is using the BlackTrax technology from CAST.  We met at the ProLight + Sound Show in Frankfurt, and became fast friends.  It’s the whole “brother from another mother” thing that happens in the Universe, you know how it goes.  The man has creativity falling out of his beard; it’s hard to tie it down to one or two brilliant things.  I recently gave a seminar at PLASA 2012 with Tupac on using the wysiwyg suite to solve production problems, and I’ll share some of that seminar soon — but it was a pleasure to share the stage with an artist who is as proficient technically as they are artistically.  That’s right — Satore Studio is known for having f%$#ing amazing production paperwork.  I’M IN LOVE!  Stage Managers across the world unite — an artist CAN have excellent paperwork AND create great designs!

You have to see the video of Nierka below — it shows what Tupac is doing with tracking, and it’s pretty cool:

More Tupac and Satore Studio eye porn:

If you’re trying to find out who’s hottest and who’s doing the most innovative work, make sure that Tupac Martir and Satore Studio is on the top of your list.  I’ll be posting more about Tupac Martir and Satore Studio’s work as the days grow on.  Have an awesome Monday, everyone!

Update, Monday, September 17, 2012 @ 0746:
New photos from Satore Studio’s lighting of London Fashion Week — Williamson, Westwood, and House of Holland!  Beautiful!  See below.

 

The Bay Lights

Wow! The Bay Lights proposal is one of the coolest urban public lighting proposals I’ve seen in a while. The San Francisco Bay Bridge is a massive canvas, and an unparalleled location for a lighting playground. Numerous cities have treated their bridges with light, but for some reason, this particular proposal just glows:

The Bay Lights website is absolutely worth checking out. They are also looking for support, so if you are in a position to offer any, that information is also on their website, along with multiple renderings, videos of the bridge and project supporters, and more.

OMICRON. High Speed Architainment.

I’m not really sure that I have words for the excellence that this contains.

O (Omicron) from Romain Tardy (AntiVJ) on Vimeo.

Romain Tardy and Thomas Vaquié are the creating artists on this one — from the AntiVJ Blog:

Last year, we were approached to create our first permanent installation for the new museum of architecture of Hala Stulecia, in Wroclaw, Poland. The piece – that we called O (Omicron), is actually the last part of the visit, and a way to create a link between the rich history of the building and the present times, by turning this massive concrete structure into a lively architecture.

When opened, Hala Stulecia was the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world. With a diameter of 65m it was home to the largest dome built since the Pantheon in Rome eighteen centuries earlier.
The Centennial Hall was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.

It is reasonable to think that when Hala Stulecia was built in 1913 Max Berg’s ambition for his construction was to pass the test of time. What could have been his vision of the monument in the distant future? How did he imagine the olding of the materials? The evolution of the surrounding urbanism and populations?

The piece proposed for the Centennial Hall of Wroclaw is based around the notion of timelessness in architecture, and the idea of what future has meant throughout the 20th century.

Taking the 1910’s as a starting point (the dome was erected in 1913), historical and artistic references were used to reveal the architecture of the space, its timeless and, more surprisingly, very modern dimension.

This building is called the Hala Stulecia (Centennial Hall); it’s a Max Berg structure, built when the German Empire was still owner of the city of Wrocław.  Here’s the structure in a way that makes us lighting designers more comfortable, with truss and chain motors in it:

This building is amazing:

When opened, Hala Stulecia was the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world. With a diameter of 65m it was home to the largest dome built since the Pantheon in Rome eighteen centuries earlier. The Centennial Hall was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. Taking the 1910’s as a starting point (the dome was erected in 1913), historical and artistic references were used to reveal the architecture of the space, its timeless and, more surprisingly, very modern dimension.

A deliberately minimalist visual aesthetic allowed to highlight the very architecture of Hala Stulecia’s dome and re-affirm its place at the core of the piece.

Check out the “Making Of” video, too — below:

O (Omicron) / Making of from Romain Tardy (AntiVJ) on Vimeo.

Thanks, We Waste Time!  You guys are one of my favorite blogs lately!

Jeff Dah-Yue Shi Says “PSYCH! That’s Not a Wall, It’s a Light!”

That’s right mophos, I’m bringing it back.  PSYCH!

So, I think I had a dream about this the other night, but it might have been from the package of ridiculance I had before I went to sleep.  This is awesome — Jeff Dah-Yue Shi takes the idea of the ol’ Q-Bert pattern and turns it into walls in a room.  Can you say RHOMBUSES?!

PSYCH!

Here’s the man himself talking about the installation — check it out!


That light there in the last image is amazing, check it out.  It’s magnetic, and can be placed anywhere in the room:

Jeff’s design was for the Taiwan Design Center, which is a pretty cool concept, check out the website.  It’s promoting design and designers from Taiwan.

The way these bamboo LED walls are made is pretty interesting too.  From the article at MyModernMet:

To create these beautiful lights, Dah-Yue Shi placed LEDs behind the bases of each rhombus. On top of the LEDs is a layer of tempered glass with a thin application of bamboo veneer. This allows for the lights to shine through while also blending into the patterns around it. Because of both the patterns and shifts in color, a three dimensional optical illusion is created. This type of lighting system is designed to be used anywhere like clubs, offices, and even homes.

Really cool!  Great work, Jeff!

Here’s the lights off, at 60%, and full:

Thanks to Inhabitat and MyModernMet for the images, and DesignBoom!

.PSLAB and “Streetlights” Shines in Berlin

One of my favorite lighting design firms, .PSLAB out of Beirut (and Stuttgart now too!), had an excellent installation last month in Berlin that needs some attention!  .PSLAB has had lots of projects covered here on JimOnLight.com, frankly because they have a lot of awesome projects!  This new one is no exception.  It debuted in Berlin last month at the Qubique Next-Generation Tradeshow – which, may I add, looks amazing!  Before we get to the .PSLAB exhibit at Qubique, just check out this short video on the Qubique show itself.  Amazing!

Right?! I wanna go do more German tradeshows!  Qubique was held in an old Berlin airport that stopped being an airport in 2008 – Berlin Templehof.  .PSLAB’s exhibit was installed in the airport as a part of a centerpiece/gathering place.

Check out .PSLAB’s “Streetlights” exhibit that took place at Qubique – Streetlights is an exhibit made from…  oh heck, from the PSLAB information on Streetlights, they tell it better than me!  It’s interesting, this Streetlights exhibit – actually debuted a little while ago with a project done with Dos Architects in London.  The original:

The ‘Streetlights’ installation is made of 220 vintage car headlamps suspended to the ceiling and giving a sense of floating. For the Qubique site, the linearity of the space was emphasised by the hanging fixture. The vast 15 metre ceiling height was counteracted by dropping the fixture to 3.5 metres above the ground, creating an intimate meeting place around the brasserie bar. The steel pipes that make up the grid were placed at intervals, two or three pipes separated by gaps, in order to let the installation form a certain rhythm while creating a second ceiling layer in the bar area. 

From the .PSLAB documentation on the installation – a bit of a site map:

Ok.  It’s cool – check it:

I love your work, .PSLAB!

Oklahoma City National Memorial at Night – A Photo Tour

This has to be said – if you want to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the best time to get the best experience is after the Sun sets.

For almost 1.25 years now I have lived directly across the street from the Oklahoma City National Memorial – the site of the Murrah Building bombing by now dead bad guy Timothy McVeigh.  I have watched people go in and out of this site, at all times of day or night (I myself have been there at 3:45am and 1am, as I don’t sleep much), in all kinds of weather.  The memorial is incredible pretty much any time I set my eyes on it.

During the day, the sun plays on the shapes and structures made by the memorial chairs, and the trees take care of giving the entire site a nice textured light to soften the reality of why the site is there.  At night though, the Memorial grounds are transformed; there is no longer a need to see everything.  The soft light and the directional path on which your eye is taken leads to the most pertinent areas of the memorial, from the field of empty chairs at night, each with an illuminated lower section, to the Survivor Tree, where you are given yet another view of the field of chairs.  To me, I feel the most solemn when visiting the memorial at night.  Obviously though, I’m a lighting designer, and I could find the emotion in a stray beam of light that came from some intergalactic star burp.

Just as a quick spatial guide, as you are at the memorial, if you enter and are standing looking with the chairs on the left or right, you are looking down Fifth Street.  FIfth used to run continuously between Classen and I-235, but the Memorial now sits at the spot of the bombing.  The chairs you will see are located where the building used to sit, and the chairs represent people killed in the explosion.  To be quite honest, I don’t know if you’re supposed to go onto the grassy area where the chairs are, but I just had to be close enough to pay my respects to the victims.  I also went at night though, I didn’t want to cause a bother.

Here are the chairs and the grounds from the building directly across the street from where the Murrah Building once stood:

You’ll notice in the image above that there are two arches that stop Fifth Street – one that says 9:01, and the other that says 9:03.  These are the Gates of Time.  At the eastern most side of the Memorial is 9:01 – the minute before the bombing, where life as we knew it was one way.  The bombing occurred at 9:02am, which is represented by the large reflecting pool and I believe the Memorial itself.  9:03, at the western most end of the Memorial, is where we now know life to be – after the bombing, after the death, after the bomber’s death.

Here’s the same view from my apartment, but in the evening:

What a beautiful memorial – you must commend the designers of this memorial, Hans and Torrey Butzer and Sven Berg, for their wonderful use of the night and the light in their design.

Below is a Gallery View of the photos – if you click on any one thumbnail, it will open the series in Gallery format for your enjoyment!  I have given each titles and some descriptions to give you bearing as you navigate through the set.

Thank you so much to the Oklahoma City National Memorial website and Wikipedia.

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That’s A Light Shame: Oklahoma City’s United States District Court House Exterior Lighting FAIL

I’m starting a new segment here on JimOnLight.com called “That’s A Light Shame.”  What this segment will focus on is shameful lighting situations all over the world, from safety to aesthetic, from art fails to general all-around epic fails.

I have found something that needs some shame shame shame finger pointing, perhaps because of its grand significance in the economy right now, or perhaps just because I’m anal-retentive and it’s been like this for nearly a year, continually getting worse.  With the economy being how it is (as daintily as Christina Romer put it the other day on Real Time with Bill Maher, ‘we’re pretty darned f**ked) and the growing frustration of the American people with our governmental fails right now, you’d figure that something like the exterior lighting of a US District Court house would warrant even some symbolistic care, right?

Nope, fail.  Non lighting designers could probably give two shakes in the wind (?) about this subject, or the entire thing altogether.  But for those of us interested in urban panning and city image, this thing looks like a freshly swollen canker sore on the face of Oklahoma City.  See for yourself – here are some images of the US District Court house in Oklahoma City, right across the street from the site of one of the most horrific attacks in American history, the Murrah Building bombing.  Perhaps that’s yet another reason to change those lamps and perhaps replace some filters, being that the OKC Memorial is right across the street, and people visit it at all times of the day and night.  Check it out below.

Here’s the court house during the day, both from afar (my balcony) and a bit of a more zoomed-in shot:

Ha haa, look, it’s a toy court house!

Now here is the first bit of exterior lighting degradation, when apparently some color filters were removed from the fixtures in the little vertical coves on the center of the facade.  Notice the Court House over on the left of this city view shot:

Here is what the last several months have been like on the front of the building – some fixtures completely out, some without filters (which apparently are supposed to be that steel blue like in the others).  These pictures were taken when my bestie was in town back in early June, and the lamps had been out for months before that as well.

 

These last two shots are of the court house on the evening of August 10, 2011:

Call me anal (or don’t, as I really don’t appreciate it, funny enough), but this is an eyesore on Oklahoma City’s downtown image.  I spend a LOT of time looking at the image of downtown, listening to the sounds that the city makes when it wakes, lives, and sleeps.  Right now, downtown Oklahoma City is kind of a disaster with all of the Project 180 stuff that’s going on – perhaps this too will get fixed at some point in the future.  Hopefully someone who has some influence on this situation will read this post and take some action.  I think Oklahoma City is a pretty cool city, and having an attention to detail is something for which we should all strive, especially when so many other things are being done to “update” the image of the downtown area.

But hey – WHAT a great start to what I am SURE will become a pretty hilarious segment on JimOnLight.com!  If you have your own Light Shames, send me an email through the contact form, let’s get them published and corrected!  Together, we have a very loud and important voice.  Let’s do the world some Light Good!

Part L of the Building Regulations Code in the United Kingdom – A Mini EISA Scenario?

Here at JimOnLight.com, sense is trying to be made of the current labyrinth (movie starring Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie) that is the Energy Independence and Safety Act (EISA).  As we dig deeper and deeper into a piece of legislation that could actually do some good if it wasn’t so heavily balanced on income, news of some changes in a similar-but-not-same legislation in another country has some interesting components that need discussing.  it’s called PART L of the Building Regulations in the United Kingdom.  Ever heard of it?

PART L is a bit of legislation in England and Wales that generally tries to legislate the consumption of fuel and power in buildings.  Obviously there is a lot to this document; and in a document that has a lot, it’s bound to have flaws.  How many of these flaws will be allowed to get through?  A lot of people think time will tell, but the time to act to change some of the absurdity is running out to affect a change to get implemented any time soon.  The next opportunity to make a change?  2016.

If you’re interested in checking out the actual verbage of PART L, here’s a link directly to it.  Here’s the latest changes to the PART L document, too.

Basically, PART L is broken up into four parts.  L1 pertains to dwellings, L2 pertains to non-dwellings:

  • L1A:  New dwellings
  • L1B:  Existing Dwellings
  • L2A:  New Buildings other than Dwellings
  • L2B:  Existing Buildings other than dwellings

From what I understand, one large portion of the hullaballoo with PART L right now is in the way it deals with “energy efficiency.”  Generally, the issue is in the way that said energy efficiency is actually legislated.  Right now, PART L deals with a luminaire’s efficacy, and people involved in wanting to improve the legislation want to move to a lighting systems-based efficacy.  Doesn’t that kinda make more sense?  It does seem like we should be done with relying on the good ol’ toggle light switch, it is 2011 after all.

I had a quick conversation with lighting designer and Twitter persona Liz Peck about this PART L business – to get more information on it from someone who’s right in the middle of it.  Liz gave an excellent PowerPoint presentation on the PART L Regulations, and has been published in LUX Magazine.  Liz is also principal at LPA Lighting, her lighting design firm.

The interview:

JOL:  Liz, can you fill me in on what PART L means for people living where PART L would be implemented? What would an outside observer to PART L need to know?

Liz Peck:  Part L of the Building Regulations governs the “conservation of fuel and power” and it applies to all new and refurbished buildings in England & Wales. Scotland & Northern Ireland have different building regulations but in essence they all follow the same pattern. It’s divided into domestic and non-domestic buildings, but for both, compliance with Part L is based almost entirely on luminaire or lamp efficacy. This means that the application of lighting is often lost, especially in projects where specialist lighting designers are not involved – the principle is that as long as the luminaire complies, then it’s an energy efficient scheme.

As a lighting engineer, what does PART L mean?
It means very little as it’s so easy to comply with. I don’t think it really influences how we approach the lighting of buildings; most lighting designers would comply with Part L without even trying.

PART L seems a little like the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) here in the United States.  EISA has a lot of very confusing aspects to it, and people in the US generally have no idea what it means.  Is PART L a lot like that with respect to its complex nature? What could be done to alleviate confusion?
From what I know of it, the ambitions of the EISA are a little greater, though they certainly have some similarities in the use of energy efficient light sources. The confusion in Part L lies predominantly with its flaws, of which there are many. For instance, in non-domestic buildings, it allows an efficient luminaire to be left on in an empty building because there is no need for controls beyond a manual on/off switch. How can that ever be thought of as efficient? Equally, for some areas in the building, the targets remain on lamp efficacy with no regard to luminaire performance, so in theory you could have a ‘black box’ luminaire with zero light output but if it contained T5 lamps, it would be compliant! In domestic buildings, it’s not much better: the requirement is for 75% of “light fixtures” to be energy efficient (40 l/w) but there is no requirement for the fixtures to be dedicated, so the reality is that the plans get approved with either CFL or LED lamps specified in traditional lampholders and then as soon as the occupants move in, they switch the lamps to less efficient sources that they prefer!

Are there cons to PART L with respect to the way it legislates luminaires instead of systems?
I think it’s the lack of need for controls which is its biggest flaw; we’re a decade into the 21st Century and the ‘recommended’ controls strategy is a manual switch. We really need to move on; the controls aspect is so out of date, it’s almost unbelievable. To have a situation in 2010 when absence and daylight sensors are considered advanced lighting controls for new buildings is a joke. These are basic controls which no new building should be without unless they have very good reason. The old adage of the most efficient luminaire is the one which is switched off when it’s not needed doesn’t apply to Part L. Things have to change.

What else should people know?
Trying to get most people to understand lumens per watt is fruitless; most people running a building, whether it’s their own home or a commercial office understand only two metrics: energy and money. Metering is becoming more prevalent in commercial buildings and is being introduced into the domestic market – maybe when people can see just how much energy they are using through lighting, they will start to think about improving it, but all the time the Building Regulations only require the use of efficient sources and not their application, we will (sadly) continue to see inefficient lighting schemes being installed. We must move to a systems-based approach, with targets on energy consumption, if we are to really make a difference in the future.

I also did some digging and found an interesting article at LUX Magazine on this subject, written by Iain Carlile of DPA Lighting Design.  Iain’s article, entitled “Why We Must Fight for PART L,” had some very direct commentary on PART L legislation.  In reference to why PART L needs changing:

Part L is correct in its requirement to reduce energy consumption, but the metrics used for lighting are quite crude and predominantly only cover the efficacy of the luminaire — not the total energy consumption of the lighting system.

This leaves us in a ludicrous situation. The lighting scheme can comply with the requirements of Part L but still waste energy through the unnecessary lighting of unoccupied or daylit areas.

For example, look at many commercial properties where all of the lighting is on throughout the night when the space is unoccupied. These installations can have efficient luminaires and lamps, achieving low installed electrical load per unit area and high luminaire efficacies. But the absence of simple occupancy controls means the lighting can remain on for more than twice the required operational hours, wasting a huge amount of energy.

The installation may meet the requirements of Part L, yet in fact the installation can be quite wasteful of energy because the lighting is not switched off when it is not required.
Recent advances in technology make it possible to specify LEDs for ambient lighting that emit an excellent quality of light across the visual spectrum, with a colour temperature and colour rendering properties that compare favourably with tungsten lamps.

Iain’s resolution to PART L?

For this situation to be resolved, future revisions of Part L must change the metric used for measuring the energy efficiency of a lighting installation.

We must as an industry challenge the existing legislation and push for a suitable metric that considers not just the efficacies of lamps and luminaires but also includes factors such as lighting controls, dimming levels, hours of operation, daylight linking and presence detection.

Only then will we have legislation that allows the intelligent application of the ‘right light, right place, right time’ philosophy.

Personally, I am glad to see that the Society of Light and Lighting is pushing for a move to systems-based targets in the next revision of Part L.

If you’re looking for a quick five-minute overview on PART L, check out this video below:

Do you think that the public would feel good about PART L if they had someone explain it to them so that it made sense?  As far as EISA goes, that seems to be a lot of the problem.  Perhaps if more people knew about the legislation that the government was trying to put in place they could make a more informed decision.  It’s nice to know that at least America isn’t the only country in the world in which its people have to actually TRY to find out the real truth about things in which its government is involved.

Something I found pertinent and relevant from the LUX Mag article was a quote from Martin Valentine, a lighting expert in Abu Dhabi City.  He talks about the way we need to go forward:

‘We need to be looking at controls and overall limits as well as luminaire efficiency. But we also need to not lose sight of light quality. The four things work hand in hand.’

Valentine warned that the danger with complicated legislation is that nobody really knows what is going on. He believes Part L is a good thing but needs to move with the times, rather be caught behind.

He said: ‘It needs to evolve and it needs to be clear cut. People need to know what’s going on and benchmarks need to be in place.’

Thanks to LUX Mag, Liz Peck, iRed, and Wikipedia!