Center City District Brings Both Permanent and Special Event Lighting to the Avenue of the Arts

  • November 07, 2007

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As a preview of enlightening things to come, and an early kick off to the holiday season, the Center City District (CCD) tonight illuminated the facades of five buildings along the Avenue of the Arts, using two different techniques of building illumination. Four of the buildings will be lit through December 2 with vivid festival-style projected lights while the University of the Arts' Terra Hall will be the first façade on the Avenue of the Arts permanently illuminated by programmable, color-changing, LED (light emitting diode) fixtures. Terra Hall is also the harbinger of nearly a dozen more South Broad Street buildings to be illuminated this way in spring 2008. 

The four Avenue of Arts buildings that will be temporarily lit are: the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia (Broad and Chestnut), The University of the Arts Merriam Theater (Broad between Locust and Spruce) and on opposite sides of Broad and Pine Streets, The University of the Arts' Dorrance Hamilton Hall and Anderson Hall. These buildings will be temporarily lit with projected images of art starting tonight, using the same approach used by the CCD to illuminate City Hall for the holidays in 2005. Anderson Hall will feature the design work of UARTs students. 

“Cities throughout the world are investing significantly in innovative lighting to communicate their unique character, create visual messages, enhance their image and foster increased visitation,” said CCD President Paul R. Levy. “In Philadelphia, new lighting technology is being used to highlight Philadelphia's historic and new iconic buildings.  As Philadelphia's skyline continues to evolve, and as city streets become more animated later in the evening, the importance of developing a comprehensive lighting strategy becomes more and more important.”

The permanent lighting at Terra Hall, located at Broad and Walnut streets, was designed by The Lighting Practice, a Philadelphia-based firm, using a product known as LED Linear, which was launched by Philips Lighting last May.  It has been used in other parts of the country, most notably on the Plaza Hotel in New York City and on a school in Pittsburgh.  LED Linear, which is produced in one-, two-, three- and four-foot lengths, is made of weatherproofed steel with a glass lens, sealed to withstand rain and dust. The fixtures, which have a maximum of 100 watts (the same as a single light bulb) and no mercury content whatsoever, can be dimmed and dynamically controlled to produce 16 million color options.  LED Linear has a lifetime of at least 50,000 hours and is anticipated to last from 15 to 20 years at Terra Hall.

Terra Hall contains 80 LED Linear fixtures and at maximum and uses approximately 4,500 watts of electricity.  Keeping Terra Hall illuminated for one hour consumes the same amount of energy as running your home clothes dryer for an hour. Not only does LED lighting use a much lower wattage than traditional building lighting, it doesn't generate outward heat and thus will not contribute to the urban heat island effect.  Moreover, the LED light source is the size of a pinhead, enabling the light source to be focused directly on the building rather than emitting light into the sky, as happens with traditional building lighting.

The festival lighting is being designed by Artlumiere, the same French production firm that created the dazzling light display at City Hall for CCD during the 2005 holiday season. Artlumiere specializes in creating spectacular lighting effects for architecturally significant buildings worldwide.

The new Broad Street lighting is funded by: Center City District, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The William Penn Foundation, The Lenfest Group, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development, Avenue of the Arts, Inc. and Broad Street property owners.

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation is the CCD's marketing partner.

The Center City District, a private-sector sponsored business improvement district dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City's competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions.