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Parsons School of Design MFA Lighting Design program theses1994 (PC020404.04) ➔ Lighting Design Facilitates Change at Fordham University Chapel


Related people/organizations

Melanie Freundlich (designer)
Paul Marantz (thesis advisor)
Samuel White (thesis advisor)
Robert Prouse (thesis advisor)


December 1994


This thesis will analyze the development if a lighting design of a genre building, with Historic Landmark Destination and a historical interior character, from its original construction to the present. The subject building is a small Catholic church at Fordham University’s Rosehill Campus in the Bronx, New York. This writer will examine how and why the lighting program brief for the project changed over 150 years as well as what solutions were employed to fulfill the requirements of that brief. The following questions will be addressed:

• In a renovation where there is a return to the original architectural vocabulary, how will the lighting answer the needs of modern technology while reflecting that return?

• How has the balance shifted over the life of the building among utilitarian, aesthetic, and visual comfort concerns?

• What elements of the design have remained constant?

An architectural lighting design always begins with a program brief or “wish list”. That brief is an amalgamation of lighting criteria culled from the owner(s), user(s), architectural design team and others in some way involved with the building each of whom has their own lighting concerns. In addition, the lighting designer must decide which local and national codes, as well as industry standards will be incorporated into that brief.

Renovations of a building require reexamining and restating the program brief. It is as if it were to be constructed all over again and, in the process, provide a kind of historical record of changes in building styles and technologies as well as local economies and social structures. These constantly evolving criteria create a dilemma, particularly in a building of historic nature, of staying true to the core aesthetic of an original lighting design while providing modern materials and technology often requested by users, owners, and public expectation.



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