The needs of educational environments and the use of lighting are changing. Changes in technology and lifestyles of younger generations have altered the way learning environments operate and opened up new design opportunities, making it necessary for architects and lighting designers to meet the new demands through the thoughtful and innovative use of luminaires and lighting art to create a more beautiful, immersive, and inclusive learning environment. But regardless of the changing forms of lighting, academic lighting design remains rooted in the integration of light and architecture to achieve utility and functionality; ultimately, it must be able to perform its function. Cases of good educational lighting with sufficient reference significance can be seen everywhere.
City Kids Education Center – Williamsburg section of Brooklyn
— Occupancy Needs: To provide a smooth transition from home to school for students ages 2 through 12;
— Design Requirements: Incorporate outdoor elements into the architectural character of the central double-height atrium courtyard;
— Design Concept: The sky-blue roof mimics the sky, combined with organically shaped white creative chandeliers that look like clouds to children during the day and appear as stars in the evening when it darkens. Other areas use round classic ceiling lights of different diameters placed in a semi-random pattern to mimic clouds, adding extra ambiance to the space.
Waunakee Community School District Intermediate School, Madison, Wis.
— Design Requirements: Integrate agrarian culture with an educational environment that mimics the surrounding farm and agricultural environment, emphasizing the importance of sustainability;
— Design Concept: Repeating patterns throughout the building, similar to rows of crops in a field. Natural light and integrated chandelier lights were used to give the linear space an organic feel. Linear bar pendant lights provide most of the top ambient lighting, and the lighting fixtures are not uniformly oriented. Some run perpendicular to the room’s window walls, others parallel. Foldable solar panels are installed on the roof to generate electricity, and high-performance glass minimizes heat and glare. The school can track the building’s energy footprint in real time through an online tool that measures lighting fixture usage and operational efficiency.
Reby Cary Youth Library, Fort Worth, Texas
— Occupancy Needs: A great space for children to expand their minds and imaginations;
— Design Need: To encourage curiosity, reading, creativity and critical thinking through design;
— Design Concept: The “Only Connect” interactive light art installation is over 121 feet long and consists of 20,000 individually handcrafted glass globes intertwined with LED lighting sources behind each globe. The things that drive the LED network are PIR infrared sensors mounted in kiosks that respond to people’s motion signals and color signals to trigger special lighting sequences.
Science Leadership Academy Middle School (SLAMS), Drexel University
Schools are different from normal educational organizations and need to consider the function of each different area to design the lighting.
• Classroom / Collaborative Space: Functional Lighting + Ambient Lighting
Using deep cup anti-glare downlights and linear pendant lighting fixtures, combined with natural light, the lighting is bright and even, visually sharp and easy for children to read. Shades and dimming controls with daylight sensors allow teachers to easily dim and control the lighting without having to call the IT staff;
• Cafeteria: Functional Lighting – Recessed COB Downlights
• Stage / Podium: Accent Lighting – Magnetic Track Lighting Systems
• Corridor: Bay Lighting – Wall Washer Strip Lights
Now that corridors are no longer just simple corridors but also spaces where people can gather, the lighting practice incorporates LED strips to emphasize the verticality of the area;
• Stadium: Functional Lighting – Traditional Highbay Lamps
Lighting design for educational spaces is changing rapidly, and thoughtful and innovative use of lighting can create visual interest, stimulate curiosity, and contribute to learning efficiency. It is worth noting that when designing educational lighting, technically cumbersome products and ornate forms should be avoided, rooted in practicality and technology, and simply utilized to their fullest potential.