Illumination for a safe, secure and inspirational learning environment

Jan. 14, 2019

Located in the rapidly growing city of Ridgefield, Washington, the new Ridgefield School building is home to two distinct schools. Sunset Ridge Intermediate School and View Ridge Middle School share the common campus, which was built using funds from a $78 million education bond.


LSW Architects took the lead on the design and construction of the 145,000 sq. ft., two level building. Consultant firm Interface Engineering was brought in for specific aspects of the project, including lighting. The Interface team had to consider several different factors when designing the lighting scheme for the school, including aesthetics, security and safety, and energy usage.


Chris Roybal, a lighting designer with Interface, explained: “Aesthetically, we had to be cognisant that the users are middle school students, so the design needed to feel friendly and fun. We also had to consider security and safety, ensuring that everywhere from parking lot to restrooms is adequately illuminated.”


Roybal also said that the Washington Energy Code is strict when it comes to energy use, so selecting long life, energy efficient LED luminaires was imperative.


The lighting designers at Interface selected Luminis to provide fixtures throughout the school. Various luminaires from the Syrios product family were used both indoors and out to maintain a common design aesthetic, and LumiSTIK products feature prominently in several indoor areas.


From the outside, the contemporary Ridgefield campus facade is striking. The entrances are accentuated by sweeping canopies that extend out beyond the school’s walls. Syrios SY802 wall mounted fixtures provide even uplight and downlight on each of the brick columns around the walls of the building’s entrance. And the slightly smaller Syrios SY600 wall mount fixtures, with downlights, are installed above all exterior doors not covered by a canopy to maintain design consistency.


The lighting designers took advantage of the high-performance luminaires’ 360° adjustable rotation to create the desired lighting effect; both enhancing the contemporary architecture and ensuring safety and security around the building. The uplight on the SY802 precisely highlights the dramatic canopy above and the downlight on both the SY802 and SY600 intentionally pushes some light away from the structure to illuminate surrounding pathways and entrances.


Inside, the common design aesthetic continues. The two-storey brick columns in the large, airy student commons that connects the two schools, feature another Syrios model. Syrios SY602 luminaires direct light up and down each column to create a design accent that matches the exterior lighting.


One of the most striking areas inside the school is the media center. This main floor space gives way to high ceilings where the open concept staircase connects two floors. The ceiling is accented by decorative suspended “leaves” in orange and green, combined with unique LumiSTIK CL842 pendants, creating a dramatic effect.


Roybal noted that this was one of the more challenging areas to light as the Washington Administration Code requires that certain institutional spaces, like this one, meet specific illumination levels. Despite seeming random, the sleek 8” diameter pendants are strategically placed amongst the leaves to ensure the high impact white translucent diffusers provide the necessary uniform illumination of the stairwell and the main floor area. 


As an additional challenge, the second-floor mezzanine extends over the media center at either end, creating drop ceilings in these two areas. The lighting designers maintained the design intent of the space by using a ceiling mounted version of the LumiSTIK product family. Luminis adapted its LumiSTIK CL822 pendant to a surface mount to accommodate this design choice.


The LumiSTIK CL822 luminaires were also used pendant style in student corridors, mounted in groups of three throughout the hallways to enhance corner seating spaces and a stairway entrance.  And LumiSTIK CL325 wall mount fixtures line the corridor walls near the main student office.


Luminis’ family approach to product development proved crucial to realizing the designer’s vision. The team at Interface was able to mix and match a variety of Luminis products to achieve its goals. The result is a combination of aesthetics and functionality, creating a safe, welcoming and inspirational environment for Ridgefield’s students and teachers. And because all products are high performance, efficient LED luminaires, they deliver energy-saving lighting that meets Code and will ensure the school district can manage its energy and maintenance costs well into the future.


“I think the project is a success. The architecture and lighting go really well together…the project looks great!” said Roybal.


Project Name: Ridgefield School

Lighting Designer: Interface Engineering, Inc.

Luminis Agent: Harry L. Stearns, Inc.

Photography: Sally Painter Photography