Copley Symphony Hall - Musician's Quarters

Job Location: San Diego, CA
Architect: Domus Studio Architecture
Lighting Designer: Kruse & Associates
Photographer: Zach Benson
Awards / Certifications:
Related Products:

Copley Symphony Hall began life as the last of the great silent motion picture palaces, when it opened in downtown San Diego in November, 1929.  Since then, the last renovation had been in 1985, focusing both on the building exterior, and on the street-level interior including “the front of the house” and main auditorium.

Quietly overlooked, was a 5000-sq.-ft. area below stage, housing men’s and women’s locker rooms, restrooms, kitchenette, music practice rooms, and a sitting and eating area. In 2008, the musicians’ quarters were, remarkably, still finished in “1929 modern” — a dark, winding warren of dingy cramped spaces that was a step back into time, decidedly without the elegance and comfort upstairs.

With a generous $1.4 million out of a total $3.4 million renovation budget, paid in part by a major commitment from Joyce and Craig Grosvenor, and named in their honor as the Grosvenor Family Musicians’ Center, the downstairs space was thoroughly modernized and transformed into areas that complement the talent that occupies it.  Relighting the entire musicians’ quarters was a key to the renovation.

“In contrast to some of the lighting objectives throughout the upstairs portion of the Hall, where preserving and restoring many irreplaceable classic lighting fixtures from the 1920s was mandated for the theater proper, our goal downstairs was to get rid of what were simply old, inefficient, antiquated incandescant light fixtures that had long outlived their useful purpose," exclaims David Keitel, a principal and project manager of Domusstudio Architects. A range of new fixtures were installed with an emphasis on low energy draw, long operating life with minimal required maintenance, and the ability to cast a proper degree of light where it was needed, to heighten visual acuity and certain tasks or activities in each room

One of the more essential parts of this relighting comprises very architectural, low-scale linear suspended fluorescent D3 | accolade3 fixtures emitting 100% direct downward light that is high performance but non-glare and surprisingly economical.  A mere .70 watts illuminate each square foot of the required areas throughout the space, employing just a single T5HO linear fluorescent lamp per fixture housing.  Housings are a minimalistic 3.5" x 3.5", with narrow 3" apertures and use a‚àôlight’s proprietary a•parabola™ light-diffusing louvers, the first to comply with IESNA RP1-04, producing substantial and uniform direct illumination creating a low, even brightness from all angles. Units were partially concealed in between exposed refinished ceiling pipes and beams in the main gathering area, as well as the locker rooms and restrooms.

“Musicians have at last been given the respect they deserve by virtue of the quality of the spaces created for their use," concludes David Keitel of Dommusstudio Architects. "They can literally see what they are doing, whether practicing instruments, eating, or using the locker rooms."

Abbreviated article by Bill Schoenfisch, PR Images

Interior Design Magazine article