The Star District

Dramatic overhead lighting pays homage to Dallas Cowboys’ Ring of Honor at The Star District

With 35 restaurants, shops, and adjacent parking garages on two-levels, The Star District is a sophisticated Dallas Cowboys-themed retail complex. The district is located on the campus that houses the NFL team’s headquarters in Frisco, Texas. It is comprised of two buildings that flank the main drive leading to the Ford Center, an indoor athletics venue.

O'Brien Architects Dallas developed the overall master plan for The Star and specifically designed the entertainment district and parking garages. The architects brought in Henderson Engineers to work on the lighting scheme.

“We took cues from the District’s layout and building design to create an upscale modern lighting experience,” said Kim Ilhardt, senior architectural lighting designer at Henderson Engineers.

The plaza in front of the District was a particular challenge. The street opens up at this juncture into what is known as the "Ring of Honor." The Dallas Cowboys Football Club pays tribute to its outstanding former members in this striking architectural feature, so effectively lighting the signature space and busy traffic hub was vital.

Large sweeping roof canopies reach out over the Ring of Honor, adjacent sidewalk and street, creating a shelter above the plaza area. The architects challenged the lighting team to source overhead fixtures that appeared "unseen and quiet."

The distinct architectural lines of the dramatic canopies inspired Ilhardt to select A-Light’s Accolade D3 linear lighting.

“Accolade D3 was about the width of the canopy’s articulated reveal, enabling multiple linear fixtures to neatly fit within the canopy and appear as a simple continuous line,” said Ilhardt. “During the day the fixtures blend in with the silver canopy, and by night they present themselves as sleek lines of light that enhance the architectural importance of the district.”

Each of the structural lines in the canopies is unique with respect to length and angle at the forward portion as it tilts upward over the plaza. A-Light’s Design Assist team customized the D3 luminaires to meet the lengths and angles required while maintaining the continuity of the linear illumination. Field coordination was also necessary to ensure that the fixtures fit perfectly.

Visitors naturally congregate at the Ring of Honor, after walking out from the perimeter parking garages. Ilhardt therefore sought an ambient light source to deliver widespread general illumination from the high canopies.

D3 provides a high-performance direct distribution of light using A-Light’s patented HE Tech™ lens. Light is pushed down to the sidewalks and retail entrances below, providing effective illumination for passersby. The fixtures also serve as an essential security feature, highlighting pedestrians crossing the main thoroughfare.

Breezeways in each building continue the lighting design aesthetic with additional D3 installations. In this case, the linear fixtures are ceiling-mounted in a custom pattern over each escalator. They provide a wayfinding element, visually pulling people into the breezeway from the street.

The breezeways by design are partially covered and exposed to limited daylight. Certain light levels are required throughout the day and evening, though, to provide safe passage for retail visitors. A-Light integrated daylight sensors into the D3 luminaires so lighting can be increased, dimmed, or turned off as necessary.

Moments of history and homages to the Dallas Cowboys successfully blend with upscale dining and shopping experiences at The Star District. From swooping lines to architectural accents, lighting contributes to a unique and memorable visit.

“A-Light’s customization and great service were key to achieving our vision for this project,” said Ilhardt.


PROJECT NAME: The Star District
LOCATION: Frisco, Texas
ARCHITECT: O’Brien Architects Dallas
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Henderson Engineers
PHOTOGRAPHY: Parrish Ruiz de Valasco


  • Location
    Frisco, TX
  • Category
    Exterior Lighting

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