Built in 1960 with a grant from the Roy A. Hunt Foundation, the Hunt Library on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University was never considered eye-catching. The impressive rectangular aluminum structure served as a resource for the minds of collegiate youth since its opening, but it was unimpressive at night, with the only source of light coming from its windows. Bill Hunt, grandson of Roy A. Hunt, was walking past the library one night and noticed that the building couldn't even be seen in the dark. He approached the university's president with this problem, which spurred the idea for a new lighting design.
The university asked Cindy Limauro and Christopher Popowich of C&C Lighting to create a lighting design to accentuate the beauty and elegance of the aluminum structure and to create a focus on the entrance to the library. Popowich says of the design team's inspiration, "Here's this blank canvas. What can we do with it?"
For the project, Limauro and Popowich mounted ColorBlast 12 LED wash fixtures three feet apart at the bottom of each vertical aluminum column of the building's exterior. Placed one foot from the illuminated surface, the fixtures wash the exterior in saturated color changing light. In addition, a combination of 2 ft (610 mm) and 4 ft (1.2 m) ColorGraze Powercore fixtures uplight the canopy of the front entrance, drawing attention to previously unlit architectural details, such as carvings in the marble. The LED lighting system is controlled by an iPlayer 3.
Limauro and Popowich chose LED lighting fixtures because of their ability to digitally change color, allowing for different light shows for holidays and special campus events. Philips Color Kinetics fixtures were used for the installation because of their superior color mixing capability, durability, and high energy efficiency.
The new lighting, showcased at the Hunt Library's 50th Anniversary celebration, featured a special light show as part of the celebration. Limauro comments, "A building that totally disappeared at night has now become one of the most vibrant and beautiful focal points on the Carnegie Mellon campus."