• LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Facebook

Phillips Academy Timken Room


On a modest budget, the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, undertook renovation of a classroom with a cathedral ceiling into a music rehearsal and recital hall. WSP USA provided lighting design services for the room, which needed to accommodate groups ranging in size from a duo to the school band. A new stage and curtain backdrop create a performance venue at one end of the room. An existing track high in the space was fitted with new fixtures for house lighting and three new tracks were added in structural housings spanning between trusses to illuminate the stage. Existing indirect fixtures were removed. Lamp holders on stems illuminate the sloped ceiling from the high track to emphasize the room’s grand scale. 

The new light fixtures are line voltage halogen PAR floods. These give excellent optical control, color rendering and dimming capability with minimal noise and electromagnetic interference for sound recording. Each new track can be dimmed separately. The interior lighting power, with the performance lighting exempt, calculated according to ASHRAE 90.1-2007, is approximately 0.92 watts per square foot, well under the 1.6 w/sf allowed per ASHRAE standards for a performing arts theater. Even with the performance lighting, the load is only 1.45 w/sf. Cost of artificial lighting and controls installed was about $6.40/sf. Artificial illuminance ranges from 12-20 foot candles horizontal in the “house” and 42-55fc onstage.

The existing natural lighting scheme of large windows in a deep masonry wall, plus a dormer, is augmented with sturdy, vandal resistant wood shutters. The shutters can be completely open, closed with their louvers open, or closed with the louvers shut. These options offer all the variety and moods that can be produced with daylight, or isolating the space to focus on the stage. Performance scenarios can vary from casual sunlit practice through a moody dusk setting to a traditional evening recital.

This project won an Award of Merit (regional level) from the Illuminating Engineering Society in 2009.