Acuity Brands Helps MIT Blend Modern LED Technology with Classic Architecture to Revive Historic Dome

Gotham LED downlights illuminate reading space in the Barker Engineering Library; embedded controls interface with downlights and daylighting from Dome’s skylight.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) installed 48 Incito™ LED downlights​ embedded with nLIGHT® lighting controls​ from Acuity Brands Inc.​ as part of the University’s renovation of the Great Dome in the Barker Engineering Library. MIT updated the historic dome using integrated Gotham® LED downlighting with embedded controls to provide consistent light levels for reading in the library, while complementing daylighting from the Dome’s skylight. The daylighting and electric lighting work together seamlessly to provide round-the-clock illumination during the library’s 24-hour operation.

Since World War II, the skylight of the historic Great Dome was covered with blackout shades. In 2012, MIT uncovered the 25-foot skylight and was confronted with the challenge of how to integrate modern lighting into the classical-style architecture, while successfully illuminating a student study area featuring a 70-foot ceiling.

“The Incito LED downlights were specifically adjusted to create the perfect lighting solution for the reading area,” said Gary Tondorf-Dick, MIT Department of Facilities, Manager of Special Projects. “We successfully achieved our goals with one solution. The alternative would have been to select more than one type of fixture, but this would have made the color matching process of each luminaire’s light output more difficult.”

The Incito LED downlight series provides MIT with adjustable and instantaneous dimming capabilities, consistent color quality, high efficacy and a variety of lumen packages. These features allow MIT to configure luminaires for its 70-foot ceiling heights and, in general, enable configurations for 12 to 100-foot ceiling heights. The downlights are paired with nLIGHT controls, making the lighting system easily dimmable through a control panel behind the librarian desk.

“The flexibility of the Incito luminaire enabled MIT to achieve both a functional and architectural design with just one solution,” said Douglas Grove, Acuity Brands Lighting Vice President and Gotham Value Stream Leader. “The precision of the Incito LED luminaires and beam pattern is remarkable. By blending an array of luminaires mounted 70 feet above the reading space with recessed luminaires mounted lower around the parameter, MIT was able to achieve seamless smooth illumination that meets IES standards for reading levels and illuminates the architecture beautifully.”

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