Bringing Architecture to Life After Dark

IAIA Multipurpose Performing Arts & Fitness Center
IAIA Multipurpose Performing Arts & Fitness Center

Exterior lighting plays an important role in our DMA designs. It is common for people to think of facility lighting strictly related to function, but the proper use of lighting can actually complement the architecture in a captivating way. When the sun goes down on the IAIA Multipurpose Performing Arts & Fitness Center, the effects of our exterior lighting design draws in building users and visitors, providing them an opportunity to experience the architecture from a new perspective.

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Illuminating Signage

Signage plays an important role throughout the IAIA campus and provides visual and tactile information, guiding students, staff and visitors. Signs acts as an extension of campus buildings and are often the first thing that visitors see. It is important to have proper signage illumination after dark to help make the campus easier to navigate. It also helps to reinforce IAIA’s brand. The ability to see at night the repetition of the sign’s color, shape, and layout quickly becomes familiar and expected, helping to enhance the overall user experience.

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Revealing Exterior Common Areas

There are many exterior common areas across the IAIA campus. The Multipurpose Center is designed with two main plaza areas, the entrance plaza near the front of the building and the performance amphitheater behind the building near the gymnasium entrance. “Light saber” light bollards placed strategically around the entrance plaza and dedication plaques not only create ambiance, but also create a defining gathering space. Step lights placed within the tiered seating and stairs along the performance amphitheater create a more dynamic performance space. Without the proper use of lighting, these common areas would not be functional at night. However, because of the intentional lighting design, these spaces are fully purposed and are used by students and visitors for small social gatherings, studying, and community/campus entertainment.

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Showcasing Architectural Site Features

The Multipurpose Center incorporates architectural site features that require appropriate lighting to display their unique architectural characteristics at night. For example, DMA designed a translucent light box that pops out of the gymnasium and is lined with LED color changing lights on the inside. At night, the LED light colors are programmable to coordinate with sporting events and theater performances. They can even be programmed to alternate colors, which when viewed from the outside, makes this site feature look like a glowing, floating box that transforms the look of the building. The enhancement of similar site features at night also provides a unique way of drawing in visitors towards the building, which instills a sense of safety and promotes a welcoming environment on the campus.

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Using Lighting as a Navigation and Safety Tool 

Student and visitor safety and security can be enhanced with good lighting design. The ground lights on site at the Multipurpose Center illuminate pathways that work to promote the architecture’s intended circulation, helping visitors to travel safely to and from the building after sunset. They also establish a sense of architectural flow along pathways designed to further communicate the story behind the building design.

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