Vanguard University Freed Center for Leadership and Service | P2S

Lighting for the Freed Center for Leadership and Service

@ Vanguard University (Image Courtesy of Gensler)

& Introduction

Vanguard University is constructing the new 60,000 SF Freed Center for Leadership and Service, an athletics, learning, and event center, on its Costa Mesa, CA campus. P2S collaborated with the architect, Gensler, for the campus expansion, delivering lighting and MEPTF consulting services. The facility includes the main gym and event center, support spaces, weight room, training room, physical therapy lab, team rooms, locker rooms, classrooms, and offices.

The $16 million Freed Center replaces “The Pit,” a beloved but nearly 80-year-old facility that served as “the heart” of Vanguard since the ’60s. So, the Freed Center has a lot to live up to, to take up the mantle as the new “heart” of the school. The new construction is going to be a place of prominence for Vanguard. A place where athletes can shine, students will strengthen their school spirit, and provide a dynamic, community-facing space for interaction and engagement. And this all needs to be done in a way that honors their mission and values.

The P2S Lighting Studio took the challenge in stride, aiming to design lighting that excels for all of Vanguard’s stated needs and even for novel situations that may arise. Collaborating with Gensler, the team began with a conversation with the architect to understand their vision for the design of this building.

Overall Lighting Design Approach:
A Thread Between Tradition &

As the design of the new event center and gym building at Vanguard University took shape, it became evident that the significance of architectural lighting design could not be overstated. Paying homage to the university's Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style, the lighting design serves as a pivotal element in marrying the past with the future.

Thoughtful and creative illumination brings the building's facade to life, accentuating its rich detailing and evoking a sense of grandeur and sophistication. Soft, warm lighting artfully highlights the graceful archways and intricate carvings, infusing the structure with a sense of historical charm while keeping its contemporary identity.

Subtle lighting elements gracefully illuminate the building's features from strategic angles, allowing the facade's contours to cast soft shadows and create a captivating interplay of light and shade, rather than drawing attention solely to the lighting fixtures themselves.

Dynamic Illumination:
Transforming the Gym
for Sports & Spectacle

The impact of lighting becomes even more pronounced indoors. An innovative design approach enhances the interior's functionality and ambiance. Strategically placed lighting elements provide an inviting atmosphere while allowing versatile use of spaces for various events and activities.

In the design of the gym within the new event center at Vanguard University, versatility and flexibility were prioritized, and lighting played a pivotal role in achieving these goals. The lighting design incorporates RGBW color-changing fixtures placed throughout the space, allowing seamless adaptation to various sports activities, such as basketball, wrestling, and more.

By utilizing a combination of optimum lighting positions and the fixtures' zoom capabilities, the gym can be effortlessly transformed into a well-lit sports arena, providing excellent visibility, and eliminating any dark spots on the court. The fixtures can be precisely focused as spotlights to enhance players' performance and ensure a dynamic and competitive environment.

Additionally, the use of RGBW color-changing technology empowers the gym to transition from standard sports lighting to dynamic and elaborate lighting for special events and performances. Through this sophisticated lighting system, the gym can be instantly transformed into a captivating stage.

Lighting for Comfort & Wellness:
Low Glare & Indirect Illumination

In the interior spaces of the new event center and gym building at Vanguard University, the lighting fixtures have been thoughtfully selected to prioritize the well-being and comfort of the users. Special consideration is given to spaces such as training rooms where individuals might be lying down and looking up while practicing, ensuring that the lighting design minimizes glare.

To achieve this, the design team implemented lighting fixtures with no visible LED point sources, which effectively deliver indirect lighting, eliminating any harsh glare and promoting a relaxed and visually soothing atmosphere.

With light bouncing off the ceiling, the addition of multiple layers of indirect illumination creates a soft, diffused glow. This feature not only enhances visual comfort but also creates a sense of spaciousness, making the rooms feel more open and inviting.

Whether it's during intense training sessions or moments of focused work in the offices, the carefully curated lighting design ensures an environment of low glare and utmost visual comfort, contributing to the overall well-being and productivity of the users.

Illuminating Elegance:
Accent Lighting Enchants
Within & Beyond the Building

The interior lighting design employs an approach to accentuate various elements within the building, creating captivating focal points and enhancing the overall ambiance. In the lobby, carefully positioned accent lighting draws attention to architectural features, artwork, and decorative elements. Subtle shelf lighting showcases the curated displays, turning them into eye-catching exhibits.

Moving outside, the facade lighting comes alive with the skillful illumination of signage and banners, making them stand out and providing a warm and inviting welcome to all who approach. By strategically accentuating these elements, the lighting design weaves a cohesive narrative, guiding visitors through the building's interior and exterior spaces.

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