We’re thrilled to see our designs for Steinmetz Hall at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts come to life after decades of planning, design, and construction. The project opened on January 14 and you can find more information on our work on the project in this article.
We asked our performance lighting design consultant Steven Rust to explain how we solved some lighting integration challenges posed by the cassette. Here’s what he had to say!
The stage and concert lighting for Steinmetz Hall grew out of the innovative architecture and multiform machinery design. Theatre Projects worked closely with Barton Myers Architects to find areas where stage lighting could be installed responding to the architectural features of the hall while providing the lighting angles required for a proscenium, concert, or flat floor experience. The multiform theatre model presented numerous challenges which were met with a strong collaborative team effort.
Early in the design phase we noticed a geometric tension in cassette ceiling reflector. The grid of lighting ports were in conflict with the concentric ring design making the ceiling look like slices of curved Swiss cheese. Barton Myers asked Theatre Projects to find a solution. We realized the concentric circles presented an opportunity. The rings and offset ceiling planes could create masked slots for the concert lights. This provided discrete lighting matched to the geometric language of the architect’s design. The concept successfully presented a solution marrying form and function.
The lighting for Steinmetz is the latest in an extensive line of Theatre Projects’ LED installations for symphonic halls. Theatre Projects worked closely with the acousticians to ensure the light fixtures met the stringent noise requirements for a concert hall. We researched and found lighting manufacturers willing to produce convection cooled fixtures with the output required for the 50 foot throw from the ceiling to the stage. The LED lighting technology used for Steinmetz met the illumination needs of the orchestra, satisfied the noise requirements of the acousticians, and offered an energy efficient solution for the Dr Phillips organization.
Theatre Projects designed a distributed power control system to shorten lighting branch circuits across the 14,000 square foot venue. This reduced material and labor costs for installation and reduced the amount of copper required for the stage lighting circuits. Power distribution is located in electrical rooms on opposite sides of the hall, on the side seating towers, and in the cassette shell making these floating structures miniature theatres on their own. An extensive fiber-based lighting network ties the spaces together and provides feedback to the users for system status tracking.
Steinmetz Hall is a technical marvel. We are pleased the lighting systems mesh well with the needs of the users and meets the challenges of a multiform venue. The Theatre Projects lighting department is proud to have played a part in the creation of this amazing venue. Congratulations to all at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts!
We’re grateful to the lighting construction team for their expertise, skills, and close collaboration on the project.