86 DESIGN FILE BRO WN INSTITUTE, NE W YORK
LIGHTING • JUNE2015
THE BROWN INSTITUTE, NEW YORK
The Brown Institute at Columbia University in New
York is devoted to the evolution of both technology
and storytelling and, as a result, has constantly
changing lighting demands.
Lighting designers Pei-Chun Yang and Gabe Guilliams
of Buro Happold devised a series of intertwining
luminous elements to build a network of ambient
light. Each element consists of an aluminimum pipe
which provides indirect lighting along its length with
a direct punctuation at its end. Indirect lighting is
provided by cutting the top half of the pipe away and
embedding low-voltage linear LED fixtures inside. At
each end, the bottom three-quarters of the pipe was
removed, leaving a mounting tongue for the linear
LED fixture. A diffusing acrylic cylinder is slid over
the tongue and fixture.
Wall panels expose or shield the windows, depending
on the intended function of the room. Closed panels
provide a blank canvas for media content. Turning
the overhead lighting off and dimming the perimeter
makes projected images clear, while reducing
peripheral contrast and eye strain.
The installed lighting power density is 28 per cent less
than that allowed under Ashrae 90.1, the US energy
standard for buildings, and the ambient layers at the
ceiling dim in response to daylight. Only one type of
fixture is used: a long-life, off-the-shelf, linear LED
product. They are held in place magnetically.
The designers have been honoured with an IALD
Award of Merit for the scheme, which the judges said
‘transformed what could have been a very boring
space into something dynamic and fun’.
The alumimimum pipe structure
includes both indirect and direct