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Museum of History and Industry

A new home for history lights up South Lake Union

Seattle, Washington

Inhabiting a former Naval Armory built under FDR's WPA program in 1941 and on the National Register of Historic Places, the iconic MOHAI sits on a dock on South Lake Union in an area of high nighttime activity. Carefully executed exterior lighting accentuates the building's form, letting it stand firmly and sedately, contrasting with the cacophonous cityscape surrounding it.

Very near Seattle’s geographic center, the city’s historic roots and its newest high rises, MOHAI has a pride of place that is enriched at night by the artistic lighting scheme. The façade lighting creates a hierarchy of elements from windows to walls. Blue LED’s light the black roof keeping the building from disappearing into the darkness. In-ground twinkle lights activate the plaza at night. Original design elements from the 1939 plan set including "eagle lights" on cheek walls at the entrance are fabricated in the new design. Lighted banners advertise upcoming events. MOHAI’s lighting design not only satisfied the goals and standards of the project, it contributed to the award of a LEED platinum designation for sustainable features — unusual among museum projects.

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