Arup, a multidisciplinary engineering and consulting firm with a reputation for delivering innovative and sustainable designs, announced today that it provided lighting design services for the new Parrish Art Museum (the Parrish) in the Hamptons on Long Island, New York. Designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, the new museum will open on November 10, 2012.
Paying homage to Long Island's celebrated light qualities was central to the architect's vision for the new building, and Arup's thoughtful daylighting and electric lighting design enabled this while respecting strict budgetary limits. The lighting design consists of rectangular skylights that provide ambient natural light, with a straightforward array of exposed fluorescent lamps mounted to the ceiling that provide supplemental illumination as needed. This technique was inspired not only by the groundbreaking (though initially controversial) combination of fluorescent lighting and daylighting that Arup designed for London's Tate Modern, but also by the type of lighting setup used in most East End artist lofts, typically generous windows and/or skylights supplemented by bare fluorescent battens.
The fluorescent lights' matter-of-fact appearance belies the complexity of the electric lighting design. The bespoke fixtures were designed to custom lengths to fit into the structure's frame members, helping to maintain the building's clean lines. Side-mounted sockets produce a uniform line of light, while carefully selected bulbs result in excellent color-rendering properties. This enables viewers to see artwork more accurately than would be possible with a standard lamp.
The lighting design team also paid careful attention to issues of sustainability, art conservation, curatorial flexibility, and budget. The museum's extensive daylighting and efficient fluorescent fixtures result in substantial energy (and therefore cost) savings compared to standard museum lighting designs. To prevent excessive daylight from damaging sensitive artworks over long periods of time, Arup carefully planned lighting levels within each gallery by coating relevant windows with high-performance ultraviolet film and using simple fabric stretchers to cover skylights. When reduced light levels are necessary, simple 3' x 6' panels of fabric chosen to suit the desired light levels can be installed manually at the skylights by gallery staff. Blackout conditions can be achieved using opaque fabric stretchers. An iPad-controlled gallery dimming system provides staff members with the ability to adjust electric gallery lighting as needed.
The Parrish Art Museum specializes in the local artwork of the Hamptons region on eastern Long Island. Long known as an artists' colony, the Hamptons have been home to renowned figures from Willem de Kooning to Chuck Close. Artists have consistently cited the region's distinctive light quality as a major draw. Arup integrated this distinction into its final lighting designs.