Auerbach Glasow French, Architectural Lighting Design, and Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, Performing Arts/Media Facilities Planning and Design, collaborated with the design team of Studio Daniel Libeskind and WRNS Studio on the recently opened Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, providing architectural lighting design and theatre consulting services. The new museum is located just north of Moscone Center and the Yerba Buena Esplanade in San Francisco’s South of Market/Convention Center district.

Auerbach Glasow French worked in close association with the architectural team to provide a lighting design that meets the unique aesthetic and demanding technical requirements of the Museum. The firm designed the architectural lighting for the interior public areas, event spaces, galleries, education center, and the administrative offices for the Museum. They were also retained to light the inaugural exhibits.

The new 63,000-square-foot facility includes the adaptive reuse of the landmark Willis Polk 1907 Jesse Street Power Substation. The project presented unique lighting challenges with the retention and integration of many elements of the historic substation, 10,000 square feet of new exhibition space, and the dynamic, non-traditional geometry of the galleries and public spaces.
Auerbach Pollock Friedlander collaborated on the development of the Museum’s public assembly space, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Hall, a multi-use meeting and banquet facility with a telescopic seating system to accommodate lectures, media presentations, and arts events for smaller audiences. Previous experience with Studio Daniel Libeskind supported close coordination of functions and design elements in a unique and flexible room that elegantly serves the various program requirements of the museum’s key meeting venue.

Project Facts:

Koret-Taube Grand Lobby
As you walk through the historic brick façade of the Contemporary Jewish
Museum and into the dramatic 2,500-square-foot grand lobby, architecture from the turn of the twentieth century meets architecture of the new millennium. Many of the original historic features in the lobby, including the façade, trusses, skylights and crane, exist alongside the new dynamic architecture of Daniel Libeskind. The lighting approach for the Koret-Taube Grand Lobby employs a multi-level strategy to address the many functions of the space: an introduction to the Museum, an area where historic meets new, and an event space. Using the historic truss as a mounting location, contemporary theatrical-style fixtures provide general lighting for the lobby as well as specialty display lighting. Along the same truss, fluorescent uplights illuminate the historic ceiling and skylights, and suspended pendant lights recall the historic 1907 substation.

The most dramatic architectural and lighting element in the lobby is the PaRDes wall, an architectural installation incorporating an abstract representation of a Hebrew acronym. Each letter is outlined in light with linear fluorescent fixtures integrated into the wall design. Various lighting elements are used to create different looks at different times of the day. When daylight fills the space, only the registration desk, café, and PaRDes wall are illuminated. General and display lighting, ceiling uplighting, and the pendant lights are added later in the day as daylight recedes. The Museum also has a dynamic presence at night when only the PaRDes wall is illuminated. It is visible through the windows of the historic façade and calls out to passersby.

Sala Webb Education Center
The 2,700-square-foot Sala Webb Education Center includes an activity room, the Ronald and Anita Wornick Boardroom, and a common area. The common area encompasses a variety of lighting looks to suit the different uses of the space, such as educational or art events, conferences or pre-event receptions. Perimeter fluorescent ceiling coves, adjustable accent lights for display and dimmable fluorescent downlights can be used alone or in combination to support the different events. The display vitrine, a centerpiece of the area, incorporates miniature track lighting and LED linear uplighting. The individual rooms integrate recessed linear fluorescent fixtures into a linear ceiling design reminiscent of many of the linear lighting motifs throughout the building. Each room has independent preset dimming controls, while the control of the common area is connected to the central dimming system.

Koshland Gallery and Roselyne and Richard Swig/Swig and Dinner Families Gallery
The second floor Koshland Gallery incorporates some of the old with the new architecture as in the grand lobby. Part of the gallery retains the ceiling trusses and skylights from the historic power substation, while the other part of the gallery is a new architectural footprint with sloping walls and a high ceiling. The gallery lighting system is comprised of lighting track suspended from the ceiling and recessed into the sloping soffit and architectural beams. On the historic side of the gallery, the track is mounted to the underside of the historic trusses. The orientation of the track emphasizes the length of the gallery and accommodates flexible, dense art displays. Each side of the gallery has fluorescent uplights mounted atop the trusses or beams accenting the high ceilings of the new architecture and the historic ceiling of the old building.

The first floor Roselyne and Richard Swig/Swig and Dinner Families Gallery is a rectilinear space with an exposed, unfinished ceiling. The lighting system is comprised of parallel lengths of lighting track that connect to a perimeter track configuration. The perimeter track follows the wall layout of the gallery. Large windows across one end of the gallery are carefully filtered to control visible and ultra violet light to allow for art display.

Stephen and Maribelle Leavitt “Yud” Gallery
The dramatic 2,200-square-foot Stephen and Maribelle Leavitt “Yud” Gallery has a soaring 60-foot ceiling with 36 skylights. Suspended lengths of extruded aluminum channel follow the shape of the room and contain lighting track incorporated into the bottom of the channel to light exhibits and events, and concealed fluorescent uplights in the top of the channel to illuminate the high volume of the space. The 2-circuit lighting track is zoned so that the lighting for a presentation can be controlled separately from exhibit or event lighting, and the uplighting is controlled separately from downlighting.

Richard and Rhoda Goldman Hall
The 3,300-square-foot Richard and Rhoda Goldman Hall is a flexible space, providing the Museum with a flat floor venue for dinners and meetings, as well as a media screening facility with stadium seating for 225 attendees. Auerbach Pollock Friedlander’s plan relies on a telescopic seating system that requires little more than thirty minutes to set up, allowing the room to be converted from an open plan meeting space to a fixed seating environment suited to media presentations and arts events for smaller audiences.

The architectural and theatrical lighting system designed by Auerbach Glasow French had to accommodate the versatile requirements of the space and fit within the dynamic linear design of the ceiling. Adjustable downlights in a variety of wattages and light distribution patterns light the space in its multitude of configurations: flat floor, tiered theatrical seating, table seating, with side or front room orientation. There are distributed circuits and mounting locations throughout the ceiling for special events lighting and theatrical rental lighting equipment to accommodate the changing uses of the room.

Dimming Control Systems
A central dimming system provides easy access and quick reconfiguration of the lighting in the lobbies and event spaces. The system allows separate control over each space by automatic preset activation or manual override through the touch of a button on the lighting preset recall stations. During normal operation the lighting presets are automatically time clock activated and change throughout the day: for pre-opening, opening, afternoon, evening, after hours, and late night. Each space has a customized portable control panel that can be operated during an event for hands-on, live control of the lighting. This same portable control panel can reprogram the lighting.

Statistical Information
Size: 63,000-square-feet
Project Cost: $44 Million (entire project)
Ground Breaking: July 19, 2006
Opening: June 8, 2008

Project Team
Auerbach Glasow French
Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
Patricia Glasow, IESNA, LC, IALD, Principal in Charge
Susan Porter, IALD, LC, Design Phases Project Manager, Lighting Designer
E. Sara McBarnette, IESNA, LC, Associate IALD, Construction Phase Project
Manager, Lighting Designer
Steve Pollock, ASTC, Principal in Charge
Howard Glickman, Project Manager

Other Team Members
Design Architect: Studio Daniel Libeskind
Architect of Record: WRNS Studio
Project Manager: KPM Consultant
Structural Engineer: Arup and OLMM Consulting Engineers
Mechanial and Plumbing: Ajmani & Pamidi, Inc.
Electrical Engineer: Silverman and Light, Inc.
IT: Teecom Design Group
Façade Consultant: A. Zahner Company
Historical Preservations: Architectural Resources Group