Shedding Light on the Subject: KE Lighting Director Talks Facility Design

With 17 years of experience, Karpinski Engineering’s lighting director won’t keep you in the dark about the importance of proper facility lighting.

“Without light, your architecture will not reach its full potential,” Marian Perez said.

Perez has provided lighting design for a variety of facility types – including higher education, K-12, cultural, religious, commercial, industrial, historical, health care, and municipal – and her numerous awards area testament to her expertise.

“Lighting design is all about creating light, and shadows, and creating contrast,” she said.

Different zones of light should be situated throughout a facility, providing contrast where it makes sense, she said. While providing a backdrop for art is important, the potential for creating lighting contrast also exists in office spaces, niches, or corridors. Apart from the facility itself, the budget, age of users in a space, and facility use also dictate how lighting is designed and controlled. Since each lighting project has its own set of variables, Perez provides a unique lighting profile for each facility she works on.

“Every job should be relatively unique, while maintaining the same lighting principles,” she said.

Perez had the opportunity to create a dramatic transformation of a historic worship facility when she updated the lighting design at Epworth-Euclid Methodist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. The Gothic-style building was constructed in the early 1900s, was inspired by Gothic-style, with the domed crossing soaring to 75 feet at its highest point. The design consisted of restoring and updating the facility’s original luminaires, which were more than six feet tall, and weighed about 145 pounds each. Parishioners were understandably moved upon viewing the changes.

“They didn’t realize the historical beauty of the structure that they had, until lighting played a more important role,” Perez said.

Perez not only received a large amount of positive feedback about the project, but also was recognized with an Award of Merit from the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America for her design.

As lighting and lighting technology continue to evolve, Perez plays an important role by keeping Karpinski Engineering’s lighting team up-to-date with industry changes. The department conducts in-house research on not only lighting equipment, but also systems and controls. In this way, the lighting team is able to confidently provide innovative, practical, and economical lighting solutions for each project.

While Perez utilizes Revit and AutoCAD software for contract documents, lighting designers have also used AGI 32 since 2000 to quantify their designs and streamline the calculation process.

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