In San Diego’s little Italy neighborhood, a striking new parking garage with a unique lighting scheme now sits at the corner of Cedar Street and Kettner Boulevard. The distinctive, $36million parking structure, built as part of the San Diego County’s waterfront project provides 645 parking spaces within the structure’s ten stories, three of which are below ground and seven above ground. Workers from the San Diego County Administration building uses the structure during the day and visitors park there at night.
The parking garage serves a dual role in the new Waterfront Park at the County Administration Center. During the day, the garage provides parking to county workers at the nearby County Administration Center. At night and on weekends, the garage offers paid public parking for visitors who want to explore the city’s historic Little Italy enclave and its highly regarded restaurants that previously had very little or no private parking available.
Architects incorporated a vertical CloudWall fin-based facade on the structure’s north and west sides that encompasses the building’s seven above-ground levels. Clear anodized aluminum makes up both the fins and the cross bracing of the CloudWall.
To highlight the fins at night, county officials requested a dynamic lighting design for the garage. Along with that lighting project, the county also wanted to update the lighting system of the nearby historic San Diego County Administration Building. The striking architectural landmark, which was completed in 1938, was nicknamed the “Jewel on the Bay” because of both its scenic location fronting San Diego Bay and its striking architecture.
Dynalectric, the electrical contractor responsible for both installations selected OCS Lighting & Control to provide system design and manage the installation of the lighting and control systems for the structures.
Lighting Selection Criteria
County officials and the lighting team from day-one decided that the lighting for both buildings should have critical attributes including strong light output, good color quality, ease of control, high fixture build quality, and a clean aesthetic. The county wanted a dynamic and colorful display on the finned parking garage façade, reminiscent of a low-res video screen,
RGB fixtures create pixels at the intersection of every pair of fins on the north and west facades of each floor. The fixtures selected for this project needed a corrosion resistant exterior that matched the aluminum fin architectural should use DMX/RDM for lighting playback.
The lighting team also decided that they would need to install 70-foot fixture runs using 277-volt input power for these runs to fall within the County’s aesthetic requirements for the building exterior. The public would see the RGB fixtures both day and night. A single cable was required to deliver power and data.
For the county administration building, officials wanted to upgrade the existing high wattage HID floods that uplight the building’s unique architectural details. They also looked to replace the existing 400-watt metal halide narrow floodlights with RGBW LED lights to improve energy efficiency, reduce maintenance, and enable quick and easy color changes through programming rather than needing a crew to physically apply color filters for special events and seasonal themes.
Moreover, the county wanted to be able to easily coordinate the lighting shows running on both the garage and building. The garage and the administration building are in the line of sight for each other, and the county wanted to ensure that the two would always be unified in schemes and color themes.
Acclaim Lighting Solution
After a thorough comparison of various solutions with guidance from OCS and Dynalectric, the county chose lighting products from Los Angeles-based Acclaim Lighting. Acclaim’s solution exceeded the technical requirements set forth for both projects within available budget parameters.
Both installations needed to withstand the harsh coastal environment of San Diego Bay. So, IP66-rated fixtures were used. For the garage, fixtures with aluminum housings and polycarbonate lenses were easily linked in single run chains using weatherproof linking cables.
The high-power LED spot luminaires uplight the column details on the administration building. The spot luminaires feature steel casings treated with a corrosion resistant coating over the exterior paint and have a similar polycarbonate lens material to the fixtures used on the garage.
For the Cedar/Kettner parking garage, OCS specified (876) 1-foot RGB Dyna Graze HO, a high-power, color-changing, outdoor linear fixture. The linear fixtures boast unmatched light output, adjustable feet, a glare shield and can operate with DMX and RDM control systems. Swivel mount and beam angle options of the linear fixtures fit a broad range of applications. Available in 1’ and 4’ sections, Acclaim says its DynaGraze HO offers many configurations that provide smooth linear dimming with ELV modules and most TRIAC dimmers.
The system produces 650 lumens per foot and has an L70 (how long it maintains at least 70 percent of its brightness) of an astonishing 150,000 hours.
For the County Administration Building project, OCS specified 120 volt Dyna Drum RGBW HO, Dyna Drum RGBW, and 4’ Dyna Graze RGBW HO and the Dyna Flood HO. The Dyna Drum RGBW and RGBW HO are quad-color architectural lighting fixtures featuring an adjustable yoke and an integrated 180-degree flip inverted digital control display for addressing and menu selections.
The fixtures reportedly consume a maximum of 270 watts but typically consume much less than half the power of the 400-watt units they replace while running most of the shows programmed into the control system.
The color-changing Dyna Drum HO fixtures use RGBW chips whose light mixes to provide an extensive color range. The Dyna Drum HO comes in several beam angles and has multiple lens options. Both Dyna Drum models feature four-channel, DMX-512 control systems, including built-in wired and wireless protocols.
Dyna Flood HO, high-powered, quad-color LED flood lights, deliver precisely matched colors in outdoor settings for illumination of facades, structures, landscapes, and monuments.
Lighting Control System
Control systems for both structures use the ETC Mosaic show control, ETC Response Net3 Gateways, and Acclaim RDS6 DMX/RDM opto splitters. The control system supports a custom control and content playback system working on a Mac Mini that the San Diego-based studio of Sosolimited, an art and technology consultant created.
According to Acclaim Lighting, the Cedar & Kettner parking garage illumination project has been well received by both county officials and citizens. The parking structure has already claimed its place as a nighttime icon of the area. And now, due to the new clear and colorful LED lighting, the architecture of the historic county administration building are greatly enhanced at night.