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Coast to Coast to Coast

Editor, Stephen Kelly

In this feature we sample lighting projects specified by landscape architects for coastal projects--from Southern California to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean seaside.

Ritz Pointe, Southern California






The 30 ft. tall royal palms lining the sides of the roadway, the view pedestrian get as they walk into the community's entrance, are illuminated with 50W metal halide medium floodlights mounted as close to the tree as possible in a pea-gravel sleeve to provide excellent drainage and a foliage and maintenance (weed whacker) barrier.


Certain names evoke a gilded past and luxury--Versailles, for instance or the Hotel Ritz, so it's not surprising to find these names appropriated by modern developers. When scouting for suitable living quarters in my long-gone bachelor days in Southern California, I recall driving by a complex called, no kidding, The Versailles Apartments. There were no royal accoutrements visible, no expansive gardens. There might have been a small fountain out front. I ended up living at Vista del Lago, an ersatz Italian community built around lagoons inhabited by chirping baby ducks and blue herons.






The gated and guarded residential community of Ritz Point in the Monarch Beach area of Dana Point, Southern Calif. is lit by flush and raised in-ground fixtures. According to the Landscape Architect, the original tree-strapped bullet lights degraded the visual appearance of the palms during the day, did not "anchor" the trees to the ground with light at night and, most importantly, did not give adequate ambient light for security.


"Ritz" is a popular appellation in So. Calif. Ritz-Carlton has three hotels here, with a fourth opening this December. There is also a Ritz Restaurant and Garden in Newport Beach. The Ritz moniker stems from the Hotel Ritz, 15 Place Vendome, Paris, built as a home in the early 18th century and bought by the Pereire brothers as suitable headquarters for Credit Mobilier, then converted to a luxury hotel by Cesar Ritz and opened June 1, 1898.

"Ritz" in So. Calif. means don't even think about going there unless your portfolio contains mutual funds with $1 million minimum buy-ins.

Ritz Pointe is a gated community (guarded around the clock) in the Monarch Beach area of Dana Point. It has two entrances, both lined with palm trees on each side of the entrance and exit lanes and on the median.






ABOVE & BELOW: For the birds of paradise surrounding the royal palms in the median, 50W metal halide floods are employed, but installed in a direct-burial sleeve to raise the height of fixture to the top of the plants and keep the beam free of foliage.







"The original tree-strapped bullet lights came with the usual problems--degrading the visual appearance during the day, not anchoring the trees to the ground with light at night and, most of all, not providing adequate ambient light to ensure a secure environment," explains Ian Ibbitson, general manager for ALLSCAPE a Santa Ana, Ca. manufacturer of the high-performance, state-of-the-art contemporary-design landscape lighting at Ritz Point.

The landscape architect wanted to upgrade the lighting of the entry points for better security, but with fixtures that would not be seen. "The obvious choice was in-ground fixtures," notes Ibbitson. Three different in-ground types were used.

The 30 ft. tall royal palms lining the sides of the roadway are illuminated with 50W metal halide medium floods. The palms are about 30 feet tall and the fronds will spread as they mature.






The view from across the main street shows how in-ground fixtures with narrow-beamed 70W metal halide spot lights can illuminate the tops of the 50-60 tall Mexican palms at the entrance to the main street. The lighting designer for Ritz Point is Timothy Shaffer (ALLSCAPE); the electrical contractor is Staybright Electric, Inc.


"The floodlights were mounted as close to the tree as possible in a pea-gravel sleeve to provide excellent drainage and a foliage and maintenance (weed whacker) barrier," Mr. Ibbitson specifies.

For the birds of paradise surrounding the royal palms in the median 50W metal halide floods are also employed, but they were installed in a direct-burial sleeve to raise the height of fixture to the top of the plants, keeping them from being enveloped in foliage.

Using in-ground fixtures to light the 50-60 tall Mexican palms at the entrance to the main street necessitated a narrow beam and more "punch"--70W metal halide spot optics.






Carnival Center of the Performing Arts, Miami






Miami's Carnival Center of the Performing Arts, formerly the Miami Performing Arts Center.
Photo courtesy of Miami Performing Arts Center.


From the California coast, we now zip over to the Atlantic side to visit the Carnival Center of the Performing Arts in Miami. When Carolyn Mitchell, the director of landscape architecture for Zyscovich Inc., envisioned the streetscape for the new center in downtown Miami, one goal was to have exterior fixture design evocative of theater lighting as a unifying element for the district. Mitchell specified a series of original architect-designed luminaires from HessAmerica to provide performance-based, multipurpose outdoor area and pedestrian-scale lighting. The luminaires add a distinctive accompaniment to the architecture of the new Performing Arts Center.






Twin-tubular, davit-arm, pole-mounted Hess Calida luminaires line Miami city streets bordering the Performing Arts Center. They illuminate the vehicular roadways and adjacent pedestrian sidewalks.


Twin-tubular, davit-arm, pole-mounted Hess Calida luminaires line Miami city streets bordering the Performing Arts Center. They illuminate the vehicular roadways and adjacent pedestrian sidewalks.

Post-top Sombra assemblies (or luminaires) are interspersed throughout pedestrian areas, adding high-design "personalized" lighting solutions at a lower mounting height. Decorative diffused acrylic disks surround the Sombra luminaire, adding a visual glow that serves to "soften" metal uprights used to suspend the fixtures.






BELOW & ABOVE: Decorative diffused acrylic disks surround the Sombra luminaire, adding a visual glow that serves to "soften" metal uprights used to suspend the fixtures.







Lastly, Tanella large-scale twin-tube wishbone-like poles stand prominently at key intersections around the Center, each supporting three luminaires. The luminaires are cylindrical projector-styled fixtures stacked near the top of each structure. They punctuate the spatial design of the Center, providing visual accents while guiding theatergoers to the entryways.






Carolyn Mitchell, director of landscape architecture for Zyscovich Inc., specified exterior fixtures evocative of theater lighting for the new Carnival Center of the Performing Arts streetscape in downtown Miami.


"The luminaires reminded me of spot-lighting fixtures used inside a theater," says Ms. Mitchell. "We were, in effect, bringing theater spots outside," she concludes.

All of the Carnival Center of the Performing Arts outdoor area and pedestrian scale lighting fixtures share common design features. Key among them are color-tinted lenses inside each housing, creating a blue accent that heightens visual interest at night.






An added engineering challenge was having the poles comply with Miami's 146-mile-per-hour hurricane force wind-load criteria. Often, landscape lighting designers are unable to use decorative fixtures, because of more fragile design.


An added engineering challenge was having the poles comply with Miami's 146-mile-per-hour hurricane force wind-load criteria. Often, landscape lighting designers are unable to use decorative fixtures, because of more fragile design.






ABOVE & BELOW: Cylindrical blue tinted lens are nestled in the slotted housing to casts a subtle glow and accentuate the luminaire.







The design aesthetic of these lighting structures was maintained, while poles and fixture components were modified to meet local code requirements. This resulted in achieving the visual drama day and night, as well as the lighting quality that the designers intended.






ABOVE & BELOW: : Tanella (HessAmerica) triple-head styling adds architectural impact to the Carnival Center streetscape. Decorative satin anodized rings encircle the fabricated aluminum housing. The wishbone pole structure adds functional and dramatic aesthetics. All steel is hot-dip galvanized prior to being finished in finely textured paint. The 32-ft. tall poles are prewired. All hardware is stainless steel. The lamps are 150 watt metal halides. The three luminaries in the foreground can be adjusted on the horizontal and vertical axes, while the luminaire mounted to the second pole is vertically adjustable.












ParkShore Plaza, St. Petersburg, Florida






Parkshore Plaza is described as a Mediterranean-style village along the downtown waterfront of St. Petersburg, Fla., combining "luxury living," with cafes, shopping and views of the bay within easy walking distance. Die-cast aluminum Scarab bullet fixtures (Kim Lighting) uplight the entry palms via 12-volt halogen, MR16, 70-watt metal halides. The recessed wall lights have stainless steel trim and borosilicate glass spread lenses.


From Miami we head over to Florida's Gulf Coast. A short drive southwest of Tampa, Fla. lies St. Petersburg and Clearwater. California coastal communities are often called "laid back," but you can't get much more relaxed than this area of 35 miles of beaches.






CMB bollards (Beacon) specs include: heavy wall cast aluminum base and top; easy removable top for relamping; all stainless steel fasteners; high-intensity discharge ballast; porcelain glazed socket; galvanized anchor bolts or direct burial; powder coat, chromate finish (five-year warranty). The bollard bulbs are 50- watt metal halide.


The ParkShore Plaza project in St. Petersburg was designed by Phil Graham, FASLA. Mr. Graham founded Phil Graham & Co. in 1967 and has made a significant impact on the St. Petersburg, Tampa and Sarasota area, designing over 3,000 projects. LASN featured his work in the April 2006 issue ("Unique Landscaping, Distinctive Lighting Design Characterize Tampa's New 'Meridian Gateway' Elevated Highway"). In Dec. 2006, the new landscape architecture division of ValleyCrest acquired Phil Graham & Co., now known as Phil Graham Studio. Phil Graham runs the studio and is the managing principal.






ABOVE & BELOW: The landscape architect chose the traditional shape of late 19th century luminaries for ParkShore Plaza in St. Petersburg, Fla. (Beacon Vinoy series). The housing/lens holder ring is aluminum. The optical assembly is a borosilicate glass refractor. Light distribution is via refractive lens within an acorn-shaped globe with a clear acrylic textured finish. The 150-watt sodium light used here is very bright, producing between 97 to 150 lumens per watt, which is much higher than halide bulbs, though not providing as balanced a spectrum as halides. Sodium bulbs also have greater life expectancy and efficiency than halides. The ballast assembly is mounted to a cast aluminum tray. All mounting fasteners and brackets are stainless steel. The finish is a thermoset polyester power coating applied over a sandblasted surface with an eight-stage immersion chromate conversion and pretreatment. And, naturally, this being subtropical Florida, the luminaire is suitable for wet locations. Site amenities include Old Scroll benches with imported IPE hardwood slats and Santa Fe series receptacles.







Ed Kramer, national sales manager for Beacon Products, notes this projects is a good example where using one manufacturer (Beacon) for the street lighting and the site amenities gives this cityscape a coordinated look. "Additionally, the philosophy of 'weather together' will ensure that the site will maintain a uniform look for a long time," he notes, despite St. Pete's salty, hot, humid climate.






This pole has a matching Vinoy-style base with a 5'' and 4'' fluted pole shaft with a security camera attached, tied into the existing security systems.







St. Pierre la Mer, France






The Hellux custom designed poles were selected in part because the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France is known for strong prevailing north-westerly winds. The fixture housing, mounting bracket and hingeable frame have tool-less entry for ease of maintenance and relamping. These components are constructed of copper-free, marine-grade diecast aluminum with a corrosion-proof, eight-stage chromate conversion finish. Illumination is via metal halide lamps.


Now we hop over the Atlantic (not as easy since the SST stopped flying) to the French Mediterranean coast just above the Spanish border. St. Pierre La Mer is a little fishing port (harvests mostly oysters and mussels) north of Narbonne and south of Beziers, nestled just down the coast from Cabanes de Fleury. St. Pierre is off the beaten path and quite sedate in the off season. In August, vacation time for many French and other European workers, the Atlantic and Mediterranean beach resort towns come to life, including little St. Pierre, which offers five miles of fine sandy beach, good wind for sailing, parasailing and windsurfing, a small casino, a city square and marina (the site of our lighting). Inland is the Massif de la Clape, a protected garrigue--limestone hills and scrublands of broom, juniper, wild thyme, rosemary, lavender and native olive trees and pines. The area is also interspersed with vineyards that produce Languedoc wines.






ABOVE & BELOW: The Aero luminaires (Model 115, Ecke design by Visio) are contemporary, large-scale elliptical lightheads described as "minimalistic, Bauhaus-derived, European" design. The reflectors are multifaceted, computer optimized, hydro-formed anodized aluminum reflectors with adjustable-asymmetric distribution.







A German lighting company, Hellux Leuchten GmbH, worked with the French landscape architecture firm (TIRAT) for the St. Pierre project, specifying Aero 115 luminaires (Model 115, Ecke design). Visio Lighting (a division of Beacon and a subsidiary of Varon Lighting) manufacturers and sells Aero in the U.S.






The asymmetrical curves of the acrylic, blue-colored shade, sealed by a silicone rubber gasket to protect the lamp and reflector components, connects to the mounting pole via a slender side-mounted tubular arm. The edge-glow lens is situated around the shade's visible lower perimeter.


The Hellux custom designed poles were selected in part because the Languedoc-Roussillon area is known for its prevailing north-westerly Tramontanes, strong warm, dry winds that can blow for days.



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October 17, 2019, 6:19 am PDT

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