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Auerbach Glasow French Completes Architectural Lighting Design on the Soka Performing Arts Center and Academic Building

Auerbach Glasow French Completes Architectural Lighting Design on the Soka Performing Arts Center and Academic Building

SAN FRANCISCO – Auerbach Glasow French, Architectural Lighting Design and Consulting collaborated with ZGF Architects LLP on the Soka Performing Arts Center at Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, California. The firm worked with the owner, the other members of the design team, and construction team to develop and implement an integrated lighting scheme that enriches the architectural environment and meets the strict energy usage goals of the University.

Soka University Performing Arts Center“The campus of Soka University of America is situated in a beautiful setting with sweeping views of the nearby mountains and ZGF Architects has designed a building befitting of its surroundings. It was important that the architectural lighting design enhance the features of the building without drawing attention to lighting fixtures. As an example, the walls in the lobby, including the feature curved wood wall are washed with light to reveal the volume and form of the space and provide an inviting destination when viewed through the expansive glass curtain wall at night. The lighting for the Performing Arts Center is architecturally integrated, complementing the beautiful wood interior,” said Principal in Charge Patty Glasow.

Auerbach Glasow French provided architectural lighting design services for the configurable Performing Arts Center and lobby space, as well as the Black Box Theatre and dance studio in the adjacent academic building. The lighting for all of the spaces is designed to be flexible and easily programmed - with the touch of button – to accommodate the many uses of each venue. The facility supports a wide variety of performance events and groups, including concerts, theatrical productions and commencement produced by the University in addition to community and professional touring companies.

The firm's theatre consulting division, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, provided theatre and audio-video consulting for the Performing Arts Center, Black Box Theatre and dance studio.

Soka University of America Performing Arts Center is LEED Gold Certified. There are green roofs on both the Performing Arts Center and the Black Box Theatre portion of the academic building, and photovoltaic cells on the Performing Arts Center that help power 15% of the structures' electricity, including the performance lighting systems.

The Soka University of America Performing Arts Center opened with a gala on September 17, 2011.


Performing Arts Center Lobby

The large glass curtain wall which wraps around the lobby reveals to the outside world the warm, engaging environment of the main lobby area with its gently curving wood wall. The challenge for Auerbach Glasow French was to design energy-efficient lighting that was inviting to people on the outside of the building while featuring the dynamic, elegant architecture of the two-story space and providing a comfortable inside environment.

• The wood wall within the main lobby is washed with light to emphasize the elegant curve of the wall and richness of material.

• From outside, the glowing lobby appears as a beacon in the landscape and the wood wall seems to be the source of the warm light emanating from the lobby.

• A combination of energy-efficient recessed fluorescent and metal halide down-lights supplement the wall washers and light the open areas.

• To save energy, many of the fluorescent lamps are controlled by occupancy sensors, which dim the lighting when the lobby is not in use, and photo-sensors control the lighting in the mezzanine to reduce the electric light when daylight is sufficient to light the space.

• Pre-programmed settings accommodate the time of day and non-performance uses, such as student rehearsals, administrative needs or set up for audience attended events. The light changes based on the activity in the lobby.

Performing Arts Center

The new Performing Arts Center will be used for many diverse events, including student convocations, symphony performances and live theatre. The Center can be set into several stage configurations designed by the firm's theatre division, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, who provided theatre consulting services for both the Performing Arts Center and the Black Box Theatre.

Major seating configurations allow for very diverse programming:

• Convocation hall – 1,200 seats

• Thrust Stage – 1,046 seats

• Concert Hall – 929 seats

• Proscenium Stage – 723 seats

The Center, with a 50-foot high ceiling, encompasses large, gracefully curved wood ceiling panels as acoustic enhancement, and a tension wire grid high above the floor used for the lighting and other production systems. Auerbach Glasow French was responsible for designing a lighting system that met the challenges of multiple uses, was energy efficient, easy to use and easy to maintain.

• The lighting designers worked closely with the design team to align the light fixtures with the openings in the curved wood ceiling panels, disguising the fixture housing while allowing for optimal performance.

• Event house lighting is provided by halogen fixtures to insure the smooth dimming transition between house light and stage light.

• A majority of light fixtures are mounted to the catwalks or tension grid allowing for easy access and maintenance.

• Energy-efficient metal halide fixtures are used to service the day to day operations of the Hall since performance house lighting is needed for only a few hours during each event.

• It only takes the touch of a button to recall a preprogrammed light setting for a symphony performance, a dramatic presentation or a school assembly.

• Circuits are strategically placed under and around the perimeter of the ceiling for future use of architectural or theatrical lighting that can dramatically illuminate the wood ceiling for special events.

Black Box Theatre in Academic Building

Located in the adjacent academic building, the 180-seat Black Box Theatre is designed to provide an intimate environment with ample technical support appropriate for teaching and experimenting with live performance styles. As with the Performing Arts Center, the seating is flexible to accommodate various programs in three preset stage configurations.

• Wayfinding lighting was placed in the walls on all four sides of the venue allowing for easy seating accessibility no matter which stage configuration is engaged.

• All the room light fixtures – large fluorescent pendants –- are accessible from the suspended tension wire grid.

• Room lighting for the three different space configurations is pre-programmed and can be recalled with the touch of a button.

Dance Studios

Dancer comfort was paramount in the room design for the dance studios. The glare-free lighting is kept close to the 16' high ceilings for safety, and the fixtures have a diffusing lens to prevent uncomfortable and distracting glare.

• Comfort and safety for the dancers was achieved with ample light levels and non-glare fixtures.

• Energy-efficient linear fluorescent fixtures were used.

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