Avenue of the Arts

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

    Photo Credits: Jim Abbott for the City Center District

    Cultural district redefined by vibrant light

    The Avenue of the Arts, Philadelphia’s premier arts and entertainment district, is home to some of the city’s most important performance venues. During the 2008 holiday season, a new permanent lighting display was unveiled that created a welcoming experience to the city’s cultural scene.

    The avenue’s lighting design enhances the beauty of the buildings and provides safety and entertainment for residents and visitors alike. The lighting celebrates the Avenue of the Arts as a large performance space bringing the excitement of the theater and performance spaces to the street. In addition, the project served as a catalyst for the development, growth, and sustainability of this urban center.

    Center City District, an organization dedicated to enhancing the vitality of Center City Philadelphia, tapped leading lighting design firm The Lighting Practice for the installation. The firm felt it was important to keep the lighting environmentally friendly. They selected LED luminaires because they are energy efficient, and because they project light exactly where it is needed, minimizing the light pollution that traditional façade lighting can cause.

    The lighting project, which took two years to complete, was officially unveiled on December 17, 2008. ColorGraze Powercore (now specified with ColorGraze IntelliHue Powercore) and ColorBlast Powercore luminaires created the dazzling lighting display and transformed the streetscape into a multi-colored canvas for the holidays.

    The display was synchronized to the score of The Nutcracker, with color-changing lighting that danced across the buildings. In between the sound and light shows, coordinated lighting changes moved up and down the buildings.

    In addition, Color Kinetics temporarily illuminated City Hall with ColorReach Powercore (now specified with ReachElite), a high-performance architectural floodlight, which provided color-changing and dynamic effects on the 167 m (548 ft) municipal building. With more than 5,000 lumens of output and unprecedented light projection of over 152 m (500 ft), Reach Powercore brilliantly illuminates grand buildings such as City Hall with vibrant colors, while curbing energy use and reducing maintenance.

    This Avenue of the Arts lighting installation is controlled by Light System Manager (now specified with iPlayer 4), an integrated system consisting of controller hardware and creative design light show software. The coordinated effects are wirelessly controlled.

    The colorful lighting transforms the Avenue of the Arts nightly and can be easily adjusted for major events. For example, when the Philadelphia Eagles were in the 2009 playoffs, the lights turned green to support the team. For Valentine’s Day, red lights bring romance to the City of Brotherly Love.
    Project credits

    Lighting Design:

    The Lighting Practice

    System Integration Support:





    Gordon Electric

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