Newsletter | Sep/Oct 2006

Lighting Tour of BMS and Nevitot Shalom

by Alice Prussin

Berkeley Montessori School

Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Time: 6:00pm
Speaker: Alice Prussin
Berkeley Montessori School
1310 University Avenue
walking distance from North Berkeley BART

In 2002, I was given the opportunity to design the lighting for two adjoining properties on University Avenue. One had been a liquor store, notoriously known for attracting a less than desirable clientele, the other an historic building. One was to become the new home for Netivot Shalom, a synagogue that had been meeting in the local Jewish Community Center for many years. The other was to become a permanent home for the Berkeley Montessori School, a grades 1-8 private school.

The school and the synagogue entered into a mutually beneficial agreement to share facilities. The school needed an occasional auditorium space, the synagogue a play-yard and courtyard. The two properties would also share a drive-thru drop-off area.

Having the chance to impact University Avenue was an exciting proposition. Was there a way that the exterior lighting of the two projects could help to reinforce the rejuvenation of a suffering urban core?

The two projects shared a challenge in that both strived to be energy efficient and cost conscious, which was more difficult in 2002 than it is now. Finding creative ways to allow for cost effective, energy conscious, flexible, lighting schemes was a driving force for both projects.

On October 17th, I will be able to take you on a tour of both buildings. I will discuss the various lighting concepts that were used, demonstrate the lumen maintenance dimming system in the classrooms at BMS, explore the Netivot Shalom building and discuss the role of lighting in urban planning and way finding.

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