LIGHTING TODAY03 Mar 2021
High school lighting design blends modern aesthetic with historic campus origins
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Hoover High School, originally constructed in 1929 in the Spanish Revival style, embarked on a revitalizing project. The San Diego school introduced an administration/classroom building and theater and re-designed the entry site landscaping and connections to the main campus.  Over the years, buildings had been demolished, and new structures were introduced, but gone were the original buildings' gravitas and the campus' connection to the surrounding neighbourhood. San Diego Unified School District approached AVRP Studios to lead the transformation. In turn, AVRP Studios worked with Turpin & Rattan Engineering, Inc. on many facets of the project, including lighting. Karen Ortega, project manager at Turpin & Rattan, spearheaded the lighting design and selected Luminis products for several exterior and interior applications. 

Connecting the new project to the greater campus and the adjacent community was a driving force for the design.  Broad, sweeping paths lead from the street to the new buildings and onto the main campus. Luminis’ Eclipse EC613 luminaires provide the area lighting and wayfinding for the entrance pathways, with the 29 pole-mounted fixtures leading up to the campus entries. “Randy Robbins, Architect at AVRP Studios, had seen the Eclipse fixtures in one of my other projects downtown,” said Ortega. “We both agreed Eclipse EC613, with its superior optics and stylish design, was an excellent fit for Hoover.” The new classroom/administration facade's main entrance echoes that of the original 1929 building, with a grand entry arch edged with pre-cast concrete. To maintain synergy with the pathway lighting, and in a nod to the 1920s, Eclipse EC613 wall-mounted luminaires flank this arch and illuminate the metal building entry signage.  Additional wall-mounted fixtures line an exterior staircase, maintaining the aesthetic of the nearby pole-mounted versions and providing additional security for individuals utilising the stairs at night.     

Luminis’ Syrios SY800 wall-mounted cylinders provide high performance LED perimeter lighting around the exterior of the 500-seat theatre and classroom/administration buildings. The unique integral tilting mechanism in the SY800 allows the optic to be positioned to push light away from the building, illuminating the pathways and entrances. Staff and students can pass safely by the structure, or through a doorway, in the evening and the 37 fixtures anchor the more contemporary aspects of the project’s design. “Both the Eclipse and Syrios luminaires provide seamless blends between the historic campus origins and the modern aesthetic of the new buildings,” said Robbins.                       

Beyond design, durability was a concern for the exterior lighting, with the potential for inclement weather. Housing for Eclipse and Syrios is manufactured with a cast aluminum, and the EC613 has a high impact acrylic diffuser. Both luminaires will stand up to the elements over the long term. Fixtures also provide full cut-off to ensure no light trespass to nearby school windows or community buildings. “One of the appeals of working with Luminis is the depth of their lines,” Ortega said. “I was able to carry the exterior design aesthetic indoors with fixtures from the same product family.”                  

To that end, Ortega selected three Eclipse EC613 pendants to hang in a stairwell of the classroom/administration building. These are visible through the upper windows when viewed from the main walkway, providing a cohesive lighting design from outdoors in. The Syrios aesthetic also transitions well into the theater building. Six Syrios SY310 surface-mounted cylinders are located inside the theater lobby to provide illumination to visitors passing through. These are complemented by six Syrios SY610 cylinders, which are mounted in window mullions to light up the same lobby's interior staircase.

“Herbert Hoover High School has a strong presence along the neighbourhood’s main thoroughfare,” said Robbins. “And community response has been overwhelmingly positive to the new buildings and landscaping. They are thrilled to see the campus emerge in recognition of the past yet positioned to take on the future.” “My job as lighting designer is to accentuate what the architect has designed so that the lighting blends seamlessly into the architecture,” Ortega said. “With Luminis’ help, I believe the architect’s vision has been accomplished.”

PROJECT DATA

Project Name: Herbert Hoover High School

Location: San Diego, California, USA

Architect: AVRP Studios

Lighting Design: Turpin & Rattan Engineering, Inc.

Project Completion: August 2020

Photography: Emil Kara