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The Design Impact of Lighting

T. Morgan Gabler, Newcomb & Boyd

Covering both traditional illumination elements and the effects of new challenges concerning sustainable design, this poster will show the architectural impact of different illumination solutions for the built environment. Much like a column or cladding, illumination also defines and supports the built environment. Coordinating architectural details with lighting elements such as coves, beams, and uplights is standard practice. In addition, local energy codes, LEED™, and Dark Skies regulations provide new design criteria that challenge us to look for greener methods of illumination.

Sustainable design impacts the relationship between the interior and the exterior envelope of a building. In order to enhance quality and quantity, daylight needs lenses, louvers, and a dimming ballast for control of output and angle. Architectural elements such as glazing, building orientation, light shelves, overhangs, and skylights become lighting accessories. Outside of the building, the hot issues of light trespass and light pollution obligate the designer to select products and applications to help maintain the night sky. In turn, this impacts the quantity and placement of fixtures, as well as security and aesthetics. Therefore, a successful lighting design will integrate lighting with architecture during the initial design concept.


The purpose of this presentation is to promote discussion between the owner, architect, engineer, and lighting designer during the early stages of the design process so that the illumination is an integrated part of the building design; connecting the inhabitants with their external environment. The design should strive to uphold recommendations as put forth by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America's (IESNA). All structures and spaces have different illumination needs. For example, the illumination of a library will not be lighted in the same manner or to the same levels as a conference room. Each lighting design is unique and tailored to the function and use of that space.

Labs21 Connection:

Today, LEED™, Dark Skies, and other green built environment efforts are frequently implemented and observed. As a result, construction methods and the design process have changed. This poster will reflect the Labs21 commitment to minimizing the environmental impact, optimizing whole building efficiency, and promoting occupant safety and comfort with regard to illumination.


T. Morgan Gabler specialized in lighting design as a technical intern with the Baltimore Theatre Project, in Baltimore, Maryland, and also worked as Assistant to the Technical Director of the Theatre for the New York City while completing her degree.

After graduating, Ms. Gabler worked as both lead electrician for the Alley Theatre and as a lighting designer with Linda Cummings/Lighting Consultants, both located in Houston, Texas. Since joining Newcomb & Boyd in 1999, Ms. Gabler's work has included design responsibilities for lighting on a variety of projects. She was named an Associate of the firm in 2003.


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