Church of the Immaculata

    San Diego, California, USA

    Photo Credits:
    (after) Darren Edwards

    (before) Thaddeus Roan

    Iconic church integrates creative lighting

    Dedicated in 1959, The Church of the Immaculata is an iconic landmark on the campus of the University of San Diego. Until recently, the church was still using its original lighting system of inefficient and high-maintenance 300 W incandescent fixtures, along with harsh fluorescent accent lighting. Lighting designer Ron Neal created a solution that would more brightly and beautifully illuminate the church interior while increasing energy efficiency and decreasing maintenance costs.

    eW Graze Powercore 2700 K LED luminaires are installed at the bases of the church’s sweeping archways to bring out the texture and depth of reliefs carved into the stone. Additional eW Graze Powercore luminaires hidden in unused coves uplight the walls between the stained-glass windows that run along the main chapel. The coves also conceal eW Blast Powercore 2700 K wash lights fitted with horizontal spread lenses to direct warm white light onto the barrel-vaulted ceiling, evenly illuminating its sky-blue paint and gilded decorative trim and creating a sense of increased height.

    eW Cove MX Powercore 3000 K linear LED luminaires illuminate the large dome above the altar, the interior of the baldacchino, and the niches that run down the sides of the main chapel, each of which features religious reliefs. The new LED luminaires provide better light levels and more consistent illumination of architectural details than the fluorescent fixtures that they replaced.

    Two eW Burst Powercore 2700 K LED spotlights mounted to the back of the pipe organ light up the largest of the church’s stained-glass windows, creating the effect of backlighting by natural sunlight. ColorGraze Powercore luminaires (now specified with ColorGraze IntelliHue Powercore) run along the bottom of the pipe organ itself, grazing the pipes with preset liturgical colors (such as purple for Lent). Church personnel can easily change the organ lighting presets with a wall-mounted iColor Keypad pushbutton lighting controller.

    Neal says that choosing Color Kinetics was an easy decision. “I’ve been using Color Kinetics products for years, since its RGB fixtures were first released. Powercore fixtures are easily dimmable and controllable. We were able to give the parish the ability to dial in precisely the amount of light they wanted to create the look they wanted, by zones.”

    The LED lighting installation from Color Kinetics delivers on the promise to beautifully illuminate the interior of the Immaculata while decreasing maintenance costs. Selby Wierman, programmer for system integrator LightStyle Automated Systems, Inc., comments, “Everyone is extremely pleased with the Color Kinetics LED fixtures. There are detail reliefs, beautiful columns, and other various architectural aspects of the church that came to life with the new lighting.”
    Project credits

    Lighting Design:

    Ron Neal, IESNA, IALD

    Ron Neal Lighting Design


    Electrical Contractor:

    Neal Electric

    System Integration:

    LightStyle Automated Systems, Inc.

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