Oswego, NY

This LEED Gold renovation of a university arts building transforms a forbidding, brutalist structure into an open and inviting one. Despite a very tight budget, clever lighting solutions enhance the openness and warmth of the spaces and overcome the challenges presented by the largely concrete-slab architecture.

The lighting at the below-grade rehearsal room demonstrates the first of many inventive solutions. Here, structural columns and ceiling beams are transformed into lighting elements that add a youthful dynamic and enhance the building’s transparency.

The theater’s lobby lighting meets the budget despite using a custom-designed fixture. Made up of simple, standard and inexpensive parts, it provides a comfortable combination of direct and indirect light, with the brightness of the sources adding a note of drama.

In the double-height theater lobby, the continuous LED strip that lights the stair provides a cost-effective alternative for an illuminated handrail. Mounted on one side within a perimeter cove, the fixture floats the stair away from the wall, highlighting it as a graceful architectural feature.

Inside the renovated theater, customized fixtures create a clean, elegant gesture that enlivens the room. From the back of the house, the pattern of these linear fixtures creates dynamic movement towards the stage.

Throughout the building, the lighting design succeeds by embracing the drama of simple forms.


  • LIT Awards - Winner, Community Building Lighting


Pfeiffer Partners Architects


Chris Payne / Esto