Project Opening: Museum at Prairie Fire

Opened in May 2014, the Museum at Prairiefire is a new natural history museum in Kansas based on a partnership with the American Museum of Natural History. The process began 7 years ago, when the proposal for a museum to house traveling exhibits came into the AMNH. Two exhibits a year from New York will go through the museum, and other traveling exhibits from other institutions will also come through on a rotating basis.

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When designing the exterior, the architect wanted to evoke the memory of prairie fires. To achieve this effect, the retaining walls in the landscape were uplit with color-changing lighting programmed to evoke the low fire line of a prairie fire. The building is illuminated with concealed color-changing uplight with more active flames. The whole effect is programmed to read as a single composition evoking prairie fire.

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The lobby presented a challenge with its high spaces and complex ceiling planes. The lighting system needed to be flexible as well. Track lighting was installed concealed in the perimeter slot where the ceiling meets the walls, and a series of color-changing uplights highlight the unique ceiling. This put all of the lighting within reach on the outer wall of the lobby.

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Sailer Das at the AMNH said “It’s tremendous…We have exceeded our membership targets multiple times. It’s been really rewarding, not just in terms of attendance, but with people responding really positively to the exhibitions and giving us really positive feedback.”

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Lighted Flowers

Can you believe this is a functional building?

(from http://inhabitat.com)

Granted, it was built on top of an existing underground building, but we are just blown away by this architecture. And, of course, the integration of the lighting! The building really stands out against the rest of the city.

You can find this gem in Wujin, China, and city workers get to go here every day. It is also energy efficient, utilizing geothermal panels in the artificial lake for cooling.

It’s not often that outrageously unique architecture works. But when it does, it’s fabulous – and fabulously lit! It will still be a long time until we see if the goal of motivating urban development is met, but in the meantime it sure is a fun attraction that is also getting a good amount of use.

OLED: Light that keeps the vampires away

LG Chem released an important PSA for the world: OLED (organic light-emitting diode) lighting can help us fight the inevitable vampire attacks.

This video is a fun play on an important topic — how light affects our body, and how technology can help us achieve artificial lighting that is closest to natural light. OLEDs use organic compounds between electrodes to emit light, and are used mostly in televisions and cell phones. These are two devices that have come under the spotlight in terms of how they affect the body. As OLED does not need a backlight, perhaps using this technology in those devices could help decrease the detrimental effects of blue light on human circadian rhythms and the brain.

One manufacturer has designed a desk lamp using OLED technology. It’s a bit pricey but considering the biological implications, do you think it could be worth it?

One fairly obvious disadvantage to OLED is the lifespan — organic matter has a considerably smaller lifespan than plastics. Technology is sure to catch up, but how can you see using OLED? Outside of fighting vampires, that is.