New Orleans, LA

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The design intent for the expansion of Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business was to put learning on display, and by doing so, make the learning process as engaging as possible. A new, 42,000 square foot addition links two pre-existing buildings, and is distinguished by a large, three-story, curving glass wall.

To emphasize the expanse of space we decided to light the large atrium with a single gesture. Continuous lines of light run across the ceiling, perpendicular to the fritted window. The linear fixtures create a strong graphic that strengthens the reading of the curved façade.

The atrium is anchored at both ends by the insertion of enormous glass pods that contain classrooms and meeting spaces. The pods have a frit on the glass to capture light from RGBW grazers that are detailed into a cove around their tops. The colored light sets the pod structures off from the atrium space, and can change over the day/evening or for special events, all without impacting the interior classroom illumination.

All the lighting is controlled by a dimming system that incorporates photo-sensors as part of a daylight harvesting system that turns off specific task lighting during the day – for example, the circular pendants suspended above the seating at the glazed window wall.

Throughout, the lighting composition energizes the learning experience, supporting the school’s goal of making education fun and exciting. The solutions are dramatic and expressive, with architectural form and seamless detailing that respond to a human scale.


  • IES Illumination Award of Merit - Interior Lighting

  • The Architect's Newspaper Best of Design Awards Honorable Mention - Interior Lighting

  • LIT Awards - Honorable Mention, Community Building Lighting


Pelli Clarke & Partners


Jeff Goldberg / Esto