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The Perelman Performing Arts Center

Prize(s) Winners in Cultural Building Lighting Design
Company Tillotson Design Associates
Lead Designers Suzan Tillotson, Erin Dreyfous, Gabriela Grullon, Nour Traboulsi, Trinetra Manickavasagam
Other Designer's names REX, Davis Brody Bond, Front, Arup, Atelier Ten, Charcoalblue, Jaros Baum & Bolles
Client Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center
Photo Credits Iwan Baan, Jonathan Morefield Photography
Completion Date September 13, 2023
Project Location New York, NY
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Entry Description

The Perelman PAC is adorned with a translucent, veined marble façade sandwiched between glass. A lightly etched outer surface diffuses the transfer of surrounding exterior light sources. Custom-designed chandeliers aim at the assembly from behind, transforming the stark white cube into an warmly glowing lantern after dark.

Many concepts were studied and abandoned before choosing what was a more technically and optically challenging scheme. It was embraced for its ingenuity, turning standard LED products into elegant workhorse assemblies that evoke the technical nature of an industrial theater while simultaneously providing the glamour of one’s theater expectations.

Each is comprised of a series of LED bars in a polished frame, arranged in a V-shape. Every individual LED strip has a specifically calibrated angle, optic and output of light emission to evenly illuminate the stone and reach to the floor. The design was a study of precision- any discrepancy in aiming or brightness resulted in a blotch or shadow band at the exterior.

To combat the proximity of the intermittent floor slabs, lighting is mounted within these cavities and balanced to hide their appearance.

The color temperature of the light was chosen to complement the amber tint of the marble. The soft gradient hints to the innerworkings of the theaters within, creating a mesmerizing effect on the facade.
Sustainability Approach

The selected concept for internally illuminating the facades proved to be the most energy efficient option studied. There was an added benefit of gathering all fixtures into consolidated clusters and fully exposing them to capture and harness the direct spill as additional fill light at the back of the stone surface. With a 10% reduction of the ASHRAE energy allowance, the project targets a LEED Silver certification.
Company Description

Tillotson Design Associates, founded in 2004, is a WBE lighting design consultancy based in New York City. A diverse staff with backgrounds in architecture, interior design, and theater, including several LEED accredited professionals, combine talents to create exemplary work. Together, our principals provide over 80 years of lighting expertise. The launch of Tillotson Design Associates came just after Ms. Tillotson completed lighting designs for the Seattle Central Public Library and Prada Beverly Hills with the Office for Metropolitan Architecture.