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131 Clarendon St., Boston


The historic building at 131 Clarendon Street in Boston earned a 2013 Preservation Achievement Award from the Boston Preservation Alliance, thanks in part to the lighting design for the façade created by WSP USA.

The building, located in the proposed Park Square-Stuart Street National Register Historic District, serves as the new headquarters for Brookline Bank. It was the site of Boston’s Hard Rock Café restaurant from the mid-1980s until 2007. The restaurant had made substantial architectural changes to the building, which were reversed and much of the building’s original detailing was restored. Changes included new lighting accents, refreshed finishes and period details while making the bank’s new headquarters visible.

WSP worked with the architect, Torrey Architecture, Inc. to minimize the appearance of wiring and light fixtures, and to coordinate these elements with the building’s structure and the composition of the facade. The light sources above the entry are all LED for long life and efficiency with a color temperature that approximates the look of incandescent lighting. Induction lamps, also long life, efficient sources illuminate the entry lanterns.

Wall wash beam spreads perpendicular to the façade are kept narrow, and the spotlights have honeycomb louvers, to limit light directed to the sky. Both induction and LED sources operate well in the temperature range typical of Boston. Control by photocell and clock gives flexibility in regulating energy use and time of light directed upward. Although the project might have been exempted from energy conservation requirements because of its historic nature, it met the Exterior Lighting Power Allowance of the building code (IECC2009).