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Le Meridien, Philadelphia, USA

Issue 61 Jun/Jul 2011 : Retail : Hotel


Award-winning adaptive reuse transforms a former Philadelphia YMCA into a luxury hotel with a classy lighting scheme from Lighting Design Collaborative

For most of the last century, the elegant Georgian-revival eight-story building at 1421 Arch Street in Philadelphia was the city’s largest YMCA. To meet the need for additional hotel rooms in the downtown area, the entire structure has just been renovated to become a 202-room Le Meridien Hotel.

The design that restored the building’s former grandeur was named a winner of a Grand Jury Award presented by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. Le Meridien, a brand of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. with 130 hotels in the chain, retained Development Services Group which commissioned Blackney Hayes Architects, Philadelphia, for the rehabilitation of the historic building that has helped to revitalise the area. Lighting Design Collaborative, Philadelphia, was responsible for the architectural lighting that illuminates the exterior and public spaces.

Originally designed by noted Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer in 1907, the all-masonry building is faced with limestone on the street level of the main building and first two levels of the 1912 addition, with red brick above. The building was used as a school and offices for several decades after the spaces were vacated by the YMCA. Blackney Hayes project principal John Hayes, FAIA, led the restoration program for the exterior and significant interior spaces. John Sarkioglu, president of Lighting Design Collaborative, and Christina Spangler, IES, coordinated the architectural exterior and interior lighting design.
In the main lobby, the refinished original wood paneling frames three contiguous sections - lounge seating, a full service bar, and communal breakfast table in front of the fireplace. At the ceiling cove and within the arches are LED tape lights from Lumificient’s Hyperion R-Lite System, rated at .9-watts/linear feet, 30000K. The polished-metal accented bar glows on all sides from concealed lighting behind white panels, lit by rows of Birchwood Lighting’s WP System 3000K mini-T5 strips.

General downlighting and accent lighting used throughout the building was supplied by Lucifer Lighting Z Series MR16 flush recessed fixtures and Sylvania Tru-Aim IR MR 16, 35-watt and 50-watt lamps.
On the third floor, banquets for up to 80 guests are held in the vaulted-ceiling former library, where full-height fan-topped windows provide views to the cityscape beyond. “Although contemporary chandeliers replace the lost originals, the wall sconces dating from 1907 when the building was completed were restored and new shades added,” says Sarkioglu. Recessed fixtures in the ceiling provide ambient lighting. In the former gymnasium, now the main ballroom, 200 can be accommodated for a variety of functions.

A crisp black, white and red colour theme was selected for guest rooms. The three-hue palette provides visual contrast to the classically inspired wood paneling and architectural detailing of the public spaces on the lower floors.

New mechanical, electrical, and life-safety systems were installed throughout the building. According to architect Hayes, the building system’s energy-saving features include individual temperature controls in all guest rooms and public areas, a building-wide heat recovery system, energy-efficient lighting with timers and occupancy sensors, and low-flow plumbing fixtures.

Exterior lighting gives Le Meridien a recognisable street presence. “Lighting is

beamed onto the steps leading to the front entrance,” says Sarkioglu. “To add to the perception of depth to the façade, lighting fixtures concealed in the bottom corners of the window frames at the street level and the arched second floor are aimed upward,” Sarkioglu indicates. “They establish a rhythm for the façade by outlining the geometry of the frame patterns,” he says. Lighting is provided by IO Lighting’s Line 2.0 series LED, 17.8-watts/linear ft., 30000K.

Project Details
Le Meridien, Phiadelphia, USA
Client: Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Lighting Design: Lighting Design Collaborative
Architect: Blackney Hayes Architects
Hotel Consultants: Forcheilli Glynn
Exterior Restoration: Stuart G. Rosenberg Architects

Lighting Specified
Lucifer Lighting Z Series MR16 flush recessed fixtures (with Sylvania Tru-Aim IR MR 16, 35-watt and 50-watt lamps)
Lumificient Hyperion R-Lite Light Tape System
Birchwood Lighting WP System 3,0000K mini-T5 strips
IO Lighting Line 2.0 series LED


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