Project team:

Client: Carnegie Hall and City of New York
Lighting design: Kugler Ning, New York City/US;

12. Jul 2017

The illumination of the historic facade of Carnegie Hall, New York City/US.

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Jeff Goldberg/Esto

What is it that is so complex about lighting for historic buildings that requires a lighting designer having to become intricately involved? Many facades are simply clearly structured and allow little scope for creative design. In this case, however, it was evident that the facade required more than merely a detailed solution. Design and the battle against time…

Designed by architect William Burnet Tuthill and built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1891, the prestigious venue for both classical and popular music is located two blocks south of Central Park on Seventh Avenue in New York City. In 1987–1989, a 60-floor office tower, named Carnegie Hall Tower, designed by César Pelli & Associates, was built next to the hall on the same block, and in 2014, Carnegie Hall opened its Judith and Burton Resnick Education Wing, which houses 24 music rooms, one of which is large enough to hold an orchestra or a choir.

The facade lighting focuses on the original building and literally underlines the neo-renaissance architecture that was so popular at the time is was built, celebrating every tiny detail to bring out the quality of this legendary structure. Carnegie Hall is one of the last large buildings in New York built entirely of masonry, without a steel frame. When several flights of studio spaces were added to the building around the turn of the 20th century, a steel framework was erected around segments of the building. The exterior is rendered in narrow Roman bricks of a mellow ochre hue, with details in terracotta and brownstone.

The Carnegie Hall facade lighting project was begun in 2008. The historic, iconic building had never been properly illuminated before and posed a number of challenges for the lighting designers from Kugler Ning who were commissioned to design the lighting, in preparation for the building’s 125th Anniversary Season.

The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 105 as well as in our PLD magazine app (iPad App Store).


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