Lightswitch Architectural, an award winning architectural lighting design firm, demonstrates the effects of light in the Chicago Model City exhibition which opens today at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The Chicago Model City is a replica of Chicago’s downtown, designed to provoke thought about how cities develop and the future of metropolitan regions around the world. Focused on current planning efforts and highlighting issues such as population density and the conservation of natural resources, the Chicago Model City simulates the light of June 21, 2009, the longest day of the year, every 15 minutes. “We did research on the position of the sun during the summer solstice to make the lighting accurate,” comments Avraham Mor, Partner, Lightswitch Architectural. To achieve a true daylight effect, it was essential to represent the many shades of “white” daylight that the human eye views throughout the day. From the early morning sunrise to evening sunset, the warmth and hues of direct sunlight are very different from the bluish “fill” light produced by the sky and represented in shadows.
Energy conservation is an important element of the exhibit and in concert with the “green” emphasis, Lightswitch Architectural incorporates this ethos into every project. The Lightswitch Architectural team included the newest advances in energy efficient lighting technology such as color changing LED (light-emitting diode) luminaires used to dial in the exact color of sunlight representing daylight progression. Only 2600 watts of energy are consumed daily by the Chicago Model City LED lighting system and its special programming. “We were able to save 80% in energy costs compared to a more traditional theatrical lighting system with heavy racks connected directly into the building’s main power source with cables tied to each fixture. We believe in maximizing the technology we have available and are excited that we could demonstrate our abilities in the Chicago Model City,” notes Mor, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional.
This Chicago Model City is the beginning of the permanent legacy that the Chicago Architecture Foundation has planned. “Working with the architects and firms supporting the Chicago Model City was a great example of collaboration in modeling vision. It started with Daniel Burnham and we are proud to have a small hand in the continuation,” concludes Mor.
The exhibit, located in the entry atrium of the Santa Fe Building at 224 S. Michigan Avenue, is free and open daily through November 20, 2009.