More than 800 strobe lights blend into the exterior of the new $105 million expansion of the 62,000 sq. ft. Argosy Casino in Riverside, MO, as part of the lighting design by Gallegos Lighting . The strobe equipment comes from Birket Engineering Inc. of Orlando, FL, and animates the entire site with a nighttime light show. Controlled through a sophisticated DMX system, the complete exterior of the building can change in just the blink of an eye from an inviting shimmer to an explosive Vegas-style event. Utilizing individually programmable strobe lamps, the exterior comes alive with a beckoning sparkle.

The effect was achieved with Birket’s Strobe-Brik system which provides for extensible DMX control of hundreds of small, outdoor-use strobes. The multi-channel controller is unique in that it detects any unsafe or ground fault conditions, shutting down the affected channel. LED diagnostics monitor strobe status and provide the maximum up-time needed for large, continuous-duty shows.

The Problem
The casino's design intent required the strobe lighting effects to dominate the outside of the facility at night. However, the strobes and fixtures needed to go away during the day, as to not interfere with the exterior's highly themed textures and colors. Strobe wiring had to disappear into the building while the lamps had to be replaceable from the front.

Complicating the installation was the dissimilarity of mounting locations. The design called for the strobes to be everywhere on the exterior. Everywhere meant on the towers, on the tile roof, in the parapets and coves, and most difficult, on the face of the walls. Here the thickness of the themed finishes covering the building structure varied with the textures.

Project architects and construction engineers were understandably concerned about preserving the building's exterior moisture-proof seal with hundreds of holes created by the ubiquitous, completely recessed strobe fixtures.

Working with project architects, Birket Engineering's Marcial Godoy developed several custom mounting fixtures and housings. Machined aluminum sleeves were created for the strobes that needed to be completely recessed. The sleeves were threaded to adjust to the varied mounting depths and were fitted with individual compression inserts to provide a moisture seal.

Electricians attached the sleeves with junction boxes to the facility first and then added the strobes, wiring and compression inserts. Finishers adjusted the sleeve as required to mate seamlessly with the desired depth of themed texture. Finally the sleeves were cemented into the finish concrete.

Tile roof locations were fitted with elongated copper L-brackets slipped between tiles. Parapet locations received fixtures made entirely out of common conduit hardware. Other locations were fitted with aluminum O- and L-brackets.

Jonathan Putman, project manager for Argosy's JE Dunn Construction, said, "[The] team really pulled off an amazing effect. I have to admit, when we started I was not sure how it was going to come together with all of our concerns about moisture and replacement issues. Great job by everyone."