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Tec Studio Completes Exterior Lighting Renovation for the Greater Columbus Convention Center

In 1993, the Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC), designed by Eisenman Architects with Richard Trott & Partners, opened its doors. Eisenman, known for his “exercises in abstract delight,” delivered a structure with a geometric and modern facade that featured angular punch-outs and alternating masonry and glass segments that snaked along High Street, painted in a conversation- starting aqua, baby blue, and mustard palette. The project made an impression during the day, but a lack of exterior lighting left the building in the shadows after the sun went down.

Luckily, that is no longer the case. A recent renovation of the exterior lighting by Ardra Zinkon, President, Tec Studio Inc., now casts the much-needed illumination along the façade of the GCCC and Arnold Plaza enabling tourists and residents of Columbus alike to enjoy the space, day and night. “The most critical aspect of the project was to highlight the architecture and the Arnold statue, without visually interfering with either structure,” explained Zinkon. “As a solution, we selected in-grade lighting fixtures, handrails with slot lighting, and other minimalist light sources that would add light and glow, without bulk or distraction.”

The hidden and discreet nature of the lighting fixtures selected for this project enabled Zinkon to design layers of illumination, that are both visually enticing and functional, without cluttering the visual field or creating obstacles for passersby. In-grade fixtures with a broad tilt range highlight the various angles of the uneven façade and accommodate the unusual footprint as it advances and retreats along the street, without posing a tripping hazard. The lights around the Arnold are recessed and cool-to-the-touch to protect the people who climb onto the pedestal to pose with the iconic sculpture and to ensure that the illumination is never accidentally knocked out of alignment. Low-voltage LED lighting, concealed within the benches in the plaza, graze the vertical surface, providing light at another level and ensuring visitors are aware of the available seating. Pedestrian-scale poles provide broad ambient lighting throughout the area, while handrails with slot lighting wash the walkway in light. Frosted suspended catenary lights drape over the outside seating area, adding a little overhead sparkle to the outdoors.

Ultimately, the exterior lighting successfully showcases the many unique aspects of the GCCC façade and Arnold Plaza, while inviting visitors in and helping them move safely through the area. The thoughtful renovation of this extraordinary space not only enables people to appreciate the beauty of the building at night, but it makes every evening visit to the GCCC feel like an event.

Design Team

Landscape Architect: MKSK
Local Architect: Schooley Caldwell
Design Architect: LMN
Construction Manager: Corna-Kokosing
Exterior Contractor: Knight Electric and TSG
Controls: Lutron

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