Posts Tagged ‘Lance Gandy’

On the Boards: Trinity Episcopal Church, Galveston

G2LD is proud to have been invited to spearhead the lighting of the 1841 Sanctuary for Trinity Episcopal Church in Galveston. While the historic structure contained beautiful material and craftsmanship, both were largely invisible to users of the space due to the dark woods throughout and lack of sufficient lighting.


Trinity Episcopal Church, Galveston, lit with only available daylight


Like many churches, their existing lighting consisted of various types and sources which had been added over the years to try to fill various needs, with mixed results. Also, like many churches which originally had high wattage, short lamp life incandescents, these fixtures had been retrofitted with compact fluorescent lamps several years ago in an effort to boost efficiency. Unfortunately, this move left the beautiful church with a washed out dim light which was unable to highlight the architecture or provide functional light for its users. As the photos show, the image with the existing lights ‘On’ is not terribly different than having no lights at all.

Trinity Episcopal Church, Galveston. Altar area with the existing lights turned ON.

Still in the design phase, the church requested a mock-up of the altar area to help initiate fund raising for the extensive lighting remodel.

The before-and-after results from the use of only eight 40w LED lamps were remarkable.

Trinity Episcopal Church, Galveston. Altar area with LED lights installed for mock-up. A total of eight 40w LED spot lamps, housed in two fixtures, was able to dramatically illuminate this important focal point.

With only 320w total, the eight high-color rendering LED lamps were able to dramatically illuminate the altar and surrounding areas, including the ceiling. The lamps, which are housed in only two fixtures, are able to be discretely tucked into the architecture so that the introduction of new lighting never has to detract from the historic architecture–only enhance it.

After the success of the mock-up, the congregation is hopeful that they will be able to move forward with a lighting renovation for the entire historic sanctuary in the near future.

Side-by-side views of Trinity’s altar lighting: Daylight only, existing lighting ON, and with the new LED lighting installed.

Newly Completed: Chroma Booster

Working in conjunction with artist Matthew Geller and MetaLab, G2LD designed the lighting for this interactive art installation which stands on a busy pedestrian plaza between the Convention and Performing Arts Center and the ballpark in El Paso, Texas.

Chroma Booster, 2015, El Paso, TX, Matthew Geller, artist
The installation as seen from the plaza below, with color changing lights illuminating the clouds of mist.

Completed in 2015, the 55 foot tall industrial-inspired structure incorporates color-changing LED lighting both internally and externally to illuminate the clouds of mist that radiate from the sculpture.

Chroma Booster, 2015, El Paso, TX, Matthew Geller, artist
The 55 foot art installation, as seen across the pedestrian plaza in El Paso, Texas

The artist, who drew inspiration from both ancient Greek fountains in public gathering places as well as the surrounding industrial infrastructure, sought to create a piece which was both visual and functional. The emanating mist allows pedestrians to interact with the installation and be cooled. Incorporating lighting into the plaza surface below as well as surrounding the mist nozzles makes the multi-story structure a formidable beacon even at night.

Chroma Booster, 2015, El Paso, TX, Matthew Geller, artist
Another view from below of the color changing lights incorporated into the industrial-inspired art installation.


chroma booster 3

Chroma Booster, 2015, El Paso, TX, Matthew Geller, artist
Color changing LED lights let the clouds of mist glow purple as they billow out from Chroma Booster.

The video below shows the Chroma Booster mist both during the day and the color changing effects at night, while being enjoyed by pedestrians.









On the Boards: Historic Sunset Coffee Building

G2LD is proud to team with BNIM and Lake Flato Architects for the revitalization of the Historic Sunset Coffee Building in Downtown Houston. A joint public-private partnership  which has been in the works for more than a decade, this project seeks to bring life back to Allen’s Landing , a site linked to Houston’s early history. Located at the confluence of the Buffalo and White Oak Bayous, the property is where the Allen brothers first came ashore in 1836 to found the Town of Houston.

Historic picture of the site, where Buffalo and White Oak Bayous meet. The Sunset Coffee Building at Allen’s Landing, a three story brick building, can be seen to the left.

In 1910 the brick Sunset Coffee Building was built on the site to take advantage of the nearby barge, railroad, and street transport, but the building served numerous purposes over the decades, including a nightclub in the 1970s, before being abandoned in recent years.

The current plan for revitalization, led by Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Houston First Corporation, calls for an outdoor plaza, refreshment and rental facilities for the runners, canoers, kayakers, and bicyclists that enjoy the Bayou’s trails. The 11,000 square foot building will also house office and event space, including a green roof terrace, for private events.

Architect’s rendering of the revitalized site including public plaza, kayak and bicycle rentals, and a green roof terrace event space. Courtesy of Lake Flato and BNIM.

According to Houston First Corporation, “The project goal is to reconnect Buffalo Bayou with downtown with a beautiful and accessible outdoor venue. The building will serve as a hub of activity on the bayou and create a landmark for the site, which is the birthplace of Houston.”

The project presented many interesting challenges for the design team including how to integrate the historic elements of the site with new modern goals. For the lighting team this meant largely choosing fixtures that reflect the industrial history of the site, but lamping them with the latest in efficient lamp technology –largely LED and fluorescent. Among the exciting lighting features:

  • An elevated bridge which extends from the downtown street level to a cantilever over the Bayou will have a linear LED detailed into the handrail, to give the entire walkway a subtle glow, allowing the bridge to be a visual connection between the city and its  birthplace both day and night.
  • An internal  corner stair tower which extends through the roof deck will be lit with LED fixtures that cast a watery blue pattern on all of its surfaces. This will allow the stairs to serve as a four story visual beacon for the start of the Buffalo Bayou trails (which feature blue lighting along much of their length).
  • A green roof deck, available for private events, which features various sizes of softly glowing orbs nestled throughout the landscape, creating a dramatic but sophisticated venue with downtown Houston as the backdrop.

Abandoned 1910 building as it sits now, an unfortunate eyesore along the bayou trails which have seen much revitalization in recent years.

Architect’s vision for the new space. Courtesy Lake Flato and BNIM.

G2LD is proud to be a member of this excellent design team which is bringing new life back to this historic site.

Recently Completed: Private Car Museum

G2LD is pleased to announce the completion of a private car museum outside Houston, Texas.


Construction on this project, which was a joint partnership with Illuminations, was completed in March, 2013, and includes extensive space to showcase classic automobiles, trucks, tractors and motorcycles in addition to museum-quality automotive signage. In addition to the displays, the building also incorporates spaces for offices, dining and catering, and indoor and outdoor entertainment spaces, including a performance space for visiting bands.

Our goal as a member of the design team was not only to light the owner’s extensive collections, but also to highlight the impressive timber frame architecture–all which needed to be done without the lighting drawing attention to itself.

Efficient, cost-effective and maintenance-friendly fluorescents were hidden out of sight on top of the wooden beams in order to throw a warm glow across the complex wood ceiling and trusses. A combination of theatrical fixtures and track heads were tucked discreetly among the structure in order to dramatically highlight the individual pieces of the collection. A central dimming system allows the owner to control the lights with preset scenes for any event or time of day.







Loyal G2LD followers may recall seeing the renderings of the impressive 20,000 square foot timber frame structure on this site almost two years ago:

Private Car Museum pre-construction rendering by G2LD

Private Car Museum pre-construction rendering by G2LD












At G2LD we were please to see the final construction develop very much as we had envisioned it from the beginning, and more importantly, as the owner had envisioned it.

On the Boards: 1100 Louisiana

Partnering with Hines and Page Southerland Page, G2LD is proud to be a member of the design team for downtown Houston high rise, 1100 Louisiana.

Tunnel Level Garage Elevator

Tunnel Level Garage Elevator

The extensive renovations encompass almost 30,000 square feet of public areas including the main street level lobby, elevator bays, and Starbucks area. On the tunnel level renovations include corridors, elevator lobbies, dining areas, and restrooms.

Main Lobby, Street Level

Main Lobby, Street Level

The design team selected new finishes and furnishings throughout the project and relied strongly on new lighting to give the space an updated signature look. Long, sleek lines of light were chosen throughout the space in the form of horizontal and vertical pendants, linear recessed fixtures, and wallwashing coves, for a clean look compatible with the modern lines of the building.

Tunnel to Garage Elevators

Tunnel to Garage Elevators

LED and fluorescent sources were used throughout the project allowing the design team to increase light levels substantially. At the same time the efficient sources create a low wattage per square foot, permitting the building to maintain its LEED Gold status.

Entrance to Garage Tunnel

Entrance to Garage Tunnel

Tunnel Level Tenant Elevator Lobby

Tunnel Level Tenant Elevator Lobby

Recently Completed: City of Houston Permitting Center

Gandy2 Lighting Design is pleased to announce the completion of the City of Houston’s Permitting Center. As a part of the design team led by Studio RED Architects, G2LD worked on the  lighting for the highly efficient renovation of a 200,000 sq. ft, 1920′s rice warehouse near downtown Houston. The building, which is on track to achieve LEED Gold, houses the majority of the City’s permitting activities as well as the Green Building Resource Center.

New exterior stair tower for the City of Houston Permitting Center

New exterior stair tower for the City of Houston Permitting Center

Above is one of two stair towers which were added to the original building. The architect wanted these to additions to glow at night and act as signage, making the building clearly visible to motorists passing on the nearby freeway overpass. In order to minimize the impact of light fixtures on the architectural design, G2LD used recessed step lights, mounted upside-down in the cast concrete wall, in order to uplight the horizontal planes. An energy efficient linear LED washes the walls with a very small fixture profile.

Exterior view of the City of Houston Permitting Center

Exterior view of the City of Houston Permitting Center

A view of the second exterior stair tower.

A view of the second exterior stair tower.

Interior lighting had to be extremely energy efficient as well as budget sensitive, but also had to aid in creating a bright and enjoyable atmosphere for City workers and visitors alike. The majority of fixtures throughout the space utilized High Output T5 fluorescent fixtures  with dual step ballasts, which allow occupants to choose higher or lower light levels without the costly expense of dimming ballasts throughout.

City of Houston Entry Lobby

City of Houston Entry Lobby

In addition, a daylight harvesting system was implemented for fixtures near the large windows, allowing the fixtures to dim and save electricity when there is ample sunlight to light the space.

Linear pendant fixtures throughout were chosen not only for their efficiency but also for their vintage look. The architect desired an industrial aesthetic in order to keep with the building’s warehouse heritage.

City of Houston Permitting Center Ground Floor Elevator Lobby

City of Houston Permitting Center Ground Floor Elevator Lobby

Basic fluorescent strip lights used as sconces provide a simple and economical way to mark elevator lobbies and other circulation paths while keeping with the vintage industrial look.

City of Houston Permitting Center Barcode Desk

City of Houston Permitting Center Bar Code Desk

City of Houston Permitting Center Barcode Desk--View 2

City of Houston Permitting Center Bar Code Desk--View 2

The ceiling above the main permitting desk is designed to create a series of bar codes using reclaimed wood timbers, various light fixtures, and raw steel. When viewed from below the bar codes translate into different words relating to the permitting process such as “sign” and “seal”.

The creative rehabilitation of this abandoned rice warehouse revitalized a building, a neighborhood, and stands as a symbol for a progressive direction for the City of Houston. G2LD is proud to have been a part of this team.

Recently Completed–Dickinson First United Methodist Church Exterior

G2LD is proud to announce the completion of the exterior facade lighting for Dickinson First United Methodist Church. The congregation desired a strong presence in the community, so that the building would serve as a beacon even at night.

Dickinson First United Methodist Exterior

Dickinson First United Methodist Exterior

The team at G2LD chose energy efficient and long life sources such as fluorescent and ceramic metal halide in order to reduce the maintenance and energy costs for the church. Fixtures mounted close to the building allow the light sources to graze the stone areas of the facade, showcasing the texture and color.

Dickinson First United Methodist Chirch Exterior

Dickinson First United Methodist Church Exterior

Select interior Sanctuary lights were put on an astronomical timeclock so that they would come on in conjunction with the exterior lights. This allows the extensive stained glass windows to glow at night, enhancing the exterior beauty.

Dickinson First United Methodist Church

Dickinson First United Methodist Church

All fixtures were chosen in a size and color so as to be as unobtrusive on the facade as possible, minimizing architectural intrusion. Custom mounting details allowed small, efficient fixtures to wash the steeple in light without having to mount to or penetrate the roof surface. The result is a church that is a beacon for the surrounding community.

Recently Completed: Dickinson First United Methodist Church

G2LD is proud to announce the completion of Dickinson First United Methodist Church’s new sanctuary and welcome center. Our challenge was to light the soaring space in an economical and efficient way without the use of pendants that would hang in the space and detract from the architectural design.

Dickinson FUMC sanctuary

Dickinson FUMC sanctuary

In order to light the majority of the voluminous space we used efficient and long life fluorescents to uplight the center volume as well as the center clerestories. Having calculated the light output on computers prior to construction, we knew we could get enough light out of the coves to both enhance the architecture and give ample ambient light to the congregation below.

Warm white coves give ample soft ambient light to pews below.

Warm white coves give ample soft ambient light to pews below.

The three lamp coves were dual switched to give the congregation possible light levels of 33%, 66%, and 100%, an economical and practical solution that avoided the extensive costs of dimming ballasts throughout the sanctuary.

Theatrical fixtures, tucked behind upper beams and specified in white so that they are barely noticeable, bring a strong visual focus to the altar area and all service participants. Sconces, which were chosen to be reminiscent of candelabras, were added along the side aisles both to light circulation during low light services and also to add visual interest.

White theatrical fixtures, tucked behind upper beams, are barely noticable but bring visual focus to the altar area. Sconces around the perimeter light the circulation path and add visual interest.

White theatrical fixtures, tucked behind upper beams, are barely noticeable but bring visual focus to the altar area. Sconces around the perimeter light the circulation path and add visual interest.

G2LD worked closely with the architects, HBL, to design slots above and behind the choir risers which house adjustable track heads. The track is able to give reading light to the choir members while allowing them to be better lit as viewed from the congregation, all while keeping the ceiling clutter-free. Small uplights behind the coir give them additional ambient light while visually accenting the back wall of the altar.

Track was recessed into custom detailed slots in order to give reading light to the choir members with minimal architectural clutter. Small wall mounted uplights highlight the architecture behind them and provide additional ambient light.

Track was recessed into custom detailed slots in order to give reading light to the choir members with minimal architectural clutter. Small wall mounted uplights highlight the architecture behind them and provide additional ambient light.

A custom made pendant, which coordinates with sconces throughout the space, was designed in conjunction with a church committee tin order to get the perfect size, scale, height, and look for the large vaulted welcome center. A perimeter cove gives a bright and welcoming feel as people congregate before entering the main worship space.

A perimeter cove and custom pendant, designed to have the perfect size, height, scale, and look, announce the arrival into the welcome center.

A perimeter cove and custom pendant, designed to have the perfect size, height, scale, and look, announce the arrival into the welcome center.

Has Incandescent Been Outlawed?

You may have heard rumors about incandescent technology being outlawed, and in fact several countries have. But in the US? No…well, not exactly. Congress has passed legislation which sets efficiency standards for a variety of lamps and ballasts, many of which will begin to take effect in 2012. With the legislation  raising the bar for efficiency, there are lamps across the board—incandescent, halogen, fluorescent—which are effectively outlawed.


The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was signed into law on December 19, 2007. The act builds on the progress made by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) in setting out a comprehensive energy strategy for the 21st century. This act is a major step toward reducing our dependence on oil thereby increasing our energy security and making our country cleaner for future generations. Lighting efficiency was only one aspect addressed in this bill. In 2009 the Department of Energy passed further regulations that affect Incandescent, Halogen Reflector Lamps, and General Service Fluorescent Lamps.

There are a lot of criteria that went into which lamps were affected (lumens per watt, max wattage, etc), but to boil it down, the following lamps will not be allowed to be manufactured after the following dates:

100w Incandescent A-lamp (1/1/2012)

75w Incandescent A-lamp (1/1/2013)

60w Incandescent A-lamp (1/1/2014)

40w Incandescent A-lamp (1/1/2014)

Additionally, all R20, R30, R40, PAR20, PAR30, PAR 38, BR30, BR40, ER30, ER40, and BPAR lamps must meet halogen efficiency levels with certain wattage limit exceptions. There are a number of exceptions to the rule, including candelabra base lamps, appliance lamps, rough service, plant lights, 3-way lamps, traffic signal lamps, etc.

The 2009 regulations, which take affect in the summer of 2012, will effectively eliminate the following lamps:

Nearly all 4′ T12 Fluorescent

Some 4′ T8 Fluorescent

Most 8′ T12 Fluorescent

Nearly all standard Halogen PAR38, PAR30, and PAR 20 Halogen lamps.

So where does this leave us when specifying lamps on our projects?

In all honesty this is not an impact for the majority of current jobs. The fluorescents that are being phased out are largely out dated anyway and not being specified on new projects (T12s are sooo 20 years ago). However, buildings that still have T12 fixtures will likely need to address their outdated fixtures as lamp inventory dwindles in the coming years (existing inventory can still be sold past the date–the lamps just can’t be manufactured anymore).

Likewise, the affected incandescent lamps don’t get specified much due to the need to meet energy code. This regulation is much more likely to affect the average homeowner who’s porch light burns out than a lighting specifier.

But for those of us with porch lights at home what are the best replacement options?


Halogen is probably the closest replacement in terms of the look and function of the light. It’s a little whiter light (not as yellow), which many consider a good thing. It comes on instantly, has great color rendering, good output and is easily dimmable.

Compact Fluorescent has been touted for years as the energy friendly alternative. It is about 5x as efficient as comparable incandescent, though I don’t love cfl for most residential applications for a few reasons. They take a few minutes to warm up to full brightness–fine in a commercial setting, but annoying in many residential applications when you’re coming and going from rooms frequently. The color rendering is still a little off from the warm pleasing tome that we enjoy in the home. You need special lamps to be dimmable, and even then they don’t usually dim fully. And last, when they are turned on and off as frequently as they are in most homes the lamp life is NOWHERE NEAR what they advertise it to be. The life they advertise is generally with 12 hour starts. Again, fine for commercial, but it doesn’t equate in the home.

LED is the new guy to the residential market and is showing a lot of promise, but frankly still has a way to go. While they are generally slightly less efficient than CFL, they are still a lot more efficient than incandescent. Still they struggle with output (though the lamps tend to have very low wattage, they also don’t generally put out much light) and color rendition. All that said, major manufacturers have put a lot into R&D of consumer grade LEDs in recent years, so hopefully options will continue to improve as this legislation takes effect.

New Hybrids? Lamp manufacturers are WELL aware of this shift coming down the road and have been scrambling to come up with viable options for the consumer. As such they have tried to get creative. My favorite example is a new lamp coming out from GE which embeds a small halogen lamp inside a curly CFL lamp, which is then all encased in an A-lamp envelope to look like an incandescent. When you flip the light in the halogen and CFL both come on, but the halogen only stays on long enough for the CFL to warm up to full brightness. Once that happens a minute or so later, the halogen automatically shuts off. Instant-on brightness, good energy savings–I like that. Still not perfect, as discussed above, but I appreciate that it’s addressed at least one of my gripes!

If you have additional questions about the legislation, how it affects your office building, projects, or your very own porch light, please feel free to contact us with questions. We’re always happy to hand out expert opinions!

How do you choose who gets your business?

I had an interesting conversation the other day as I made small talk with a woman in a store. She was very pregnant and I asked her if she planned to deliver at the local hospital.

“No it SCARES me–it’s so DARK! Have you seen it?” she said. “Even the entrance looks like a tunnel leading you off to prison!”

She was right. It is dark. And sketchy looking–not qualities that you look for in a medical establishment. But I also know most people I know have been happy with the care they’ve received there and would choose it again over area hospitals, so the outward appearance isn’t necessarily indicative of the service you receive.

It was an interesting mini-case study for me as I spoke to Jane Q. Public (who, for the record, had no idea what I do for a living). The lesson, which frankly I already knew…Lighting, for better or worse, can drastically affect the way people view your business…which of course affects if you get their business at all.


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Quite simply, no piece of architecture could function without light, whether electric or natural. Light defines the way in which we see architecture—the forms and volumes, the entryways, circulation and gathering spaces, the carefully chosen colors and textures—all of these can read drastically differently under different lighting conditions. And of course without any light, they become invisible. Lighting is a key element in defining a space and should be treated as such.