LIGHTING TODAY22 Dec 2022
Downtown building transforms skyline with exterior lighting makeover
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An 80s-era office building in downtown Jacksonville, Florida, has become one of the iconic backdrops of the city thanks to an exterior lighting makeover. VyStar Credit Union purchased the building in 2019, moving its headquarters from a suburban location. While completing interior upgrades, there was an opportunity to transform the exterior with signature lighting.

David Laffitte, an independent consultant, was brought into the project by RS&H as the lead lighting consultant. Retired from RS&H, he had been the original design architect of the building when it was constructed in 1989.

The existing lighting consisted of a series of white metal halide floodlights, but the team saw the opportunity to make a statement. VyStar’s corporate colour is blue, so the concept was to create bold lines of blue light on the upper floors to showcase the building – and the brand.

"My goal was to create an even wash of blue light that would be visible across the St. John’s River,” said Laffitte. “I was looking for luminaires that could provide a high-intensity colour and uniform illumination."

In consultation with Paul Vranesh, specification sales executive at ASI Lighting, the team selected the 8200 Monochromatic Blue floodlights and Hyline501 Monochromatic Blue linear floodlights by Hydrel, a brand within the Acuity Brands Lighting and Controls portfolio. With over 100 floodlights installed along the front and back balconies atop the exterior building, the effect is four tiers of striking luminous lines that match the VyStar corporate blue.

With balconies at differing heights, one of the challenges was that each level required a different number of fixtures and varying optics. Vranesh worked through several mockups on Acuity Brands’ visual lighting design software to determine how the Hydrel luminaires could be installed to produce consistent lines of light on each level.

“We were pleased that the Hydrel architectural exterior floodlights could give us the exact blue we needed to match the VyStar brand,” said Vranesh. "The floodlights also offered us the variety of optic options we needed to mix and match on each floor to create that consistent look.”

Jacksonville experiences very wet and humid weather throughout the year, with daily rains in the summer. So, the lighting design team knew that the durable design, corrosion-resistant finish, and IP67 rating of both fixtures would stand up to the demanding Florida environment over the long term.

Vranesh said they had fantastic feedback from the VyStar team. And the project has had some unexpected perks.

“It’s one of those things you see on the nightly news now, which is great,” said Laffitte. “The tower has become the backdrop for news and sports broadcasts, which has positively impacted VyStar’s visibility and brand.”

PROJECT DATA

PROJECT NAME: VyStar Credit Union Tower

PROJECT LOCATION: Jacksonville, Florida, USA

PROJECT COMPLETION: 2021

ENGINEER: RS&H

LIGHTING DESIGN: David Laffitte, FAIA

AGENT: ASI Lighting

PHOTOGRAPHY: Greg Folkins Photography