The 2007 GE Edison Award was presented to Enrique Peiniger and Jean Sundin of Office for Visual Interaction Inc. (OVI), New York, for the lighting at the United States Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va. The personalized Steuben crystal award was presented by GE Consumer & Industrial at a gala reception at Bellagio in Las Vegas.
The GE Edison Award competition, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, is open to those lighting professionals who creatively employ significant use of GE light sources (lamps and/or LEDs) in a lighting design project completed during the previous calendar year.
Situated on a promontory overlooking the Pentagon, the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol, the Air Force Memorial takes its place among the capital city's key monuments. Lighting is critical in establishing the nighttime identity of each of these structures. Soaring toward the stratosphere, the stainless steel spires of the United States Air Force Memorial evoke the precision and weightlessness of flight.
The project uses GE's ConstantColor ceramic metal-halide lamps and luminaires with precision optics and glare-shielding properties to highlight the monument. The lighting design complements the modern elegance and precision of the memorial's spires, says GE.
Illuminated with a variation in intensity, the sweeping curves of the arcs are accentuated and their tips brilliantly lit against the night sky. Each spire rises at a different height — 201 feet, 231 feet, and 270 feet — so that the appearance of the monument moves and shifts with each different viewing angle.
OVI used extensive lighting calculations to determine the most suitable aiming positions, product selections and wattages. Luminaires concealed behind granite walls are calibrated to illuminate each arc in a precise gradient, culminating in a burst of light at the tip. Completing the lighting for the top of the spires, metal-halide luminaires with spread lenses are cleanly detailed into the granite paving.
Lighting the memorial was a highly technical challenge. Each spire rises to a different height, has a different footprint and contour, and offers a small surface area to be illuminated. Additional challenges included wind effects and Federal Aviation Agency requirements.
Accurately aiming spotlights across a distance of over 100 meters (328 feet) required a creative approach. Precision lasers were attached to the luminaires, allowing pinpoint aiming to calculated positions along the spires' contours. Specialist climbers scaled the structures, verifying that required light levels were met.
A panel of five judges selected this year's winning entry for its superiority in the following categories: functional excellence; architectural compatibility; effective use of state-of-the-art lighting products and techniques; appropriate color, form and texture revelation; energy effectiveness and cost effectiveness.
The winning project was one of three Awards of Excellence finalists. The other Awards of Excellence winners were: Tampere Power Plant - Naistenlahti Tampere, Finland, designed by Roope Siiroinen, Arto Heiskanen and Heini Ylijoki of VALOA Design Ltd., Tampere, Finland; and African Burial Ground, New York, designed by Domingo González and Nancy Lok of Domingo González Associates, Inc., New York.
Also presented at the GE Edison Award ceremony in Las Vegas were four Awards of Merit, and one Award for Sustainable Design.