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Spotlight: Vanke Center

Spotlight: Vanke Center

Holl’s horizontal skyscraper sits on legs of concrete, glass, and light.
Iwan Baan

This project is one section of AN‘s five-part feature on architectural lighting, "Sharing the Spotlight."    

Left to right: Lobby elevators with the building plan mapped in lights; The "untied bowtie" staircase blending natural and artificial light; the horizontal skyscraper is visible behind a reception desk; Light walls and an illuminated desk in the auditorium lobby.
 

According to Neches, Holl has a clear vision before the designers even come to the table, and they are asked to provide feedback on the quality of light rather than have vital creative input. “However,” said Neches, “there is always flexibility so we can affect a change if we think it will make the space better.” In the case of the “bowtie” staircase area, which was difficult to read in plan and section, L’Observatoire used a 3-D physical model to test and demonstrate various lighting fixtures and options for the interior. As a result, track lights have been integrated into folds and facets of the bowtie with areas of highlights, while in a cove at the wall, there is an uplight to encourage people to gather.

The Vanke’s relatively monochromatic interior relies heavily on lighting to create different atmospheres. “We have a lot of opportunities with Steven,” said Neches. “These are the benefits of working with an architect who thinks of light as another building material.”


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