Burnham Building

Lighting designers Lam Partners Inc. used Lumenfacades and Lumenbeam Grande luminaires to illuminate the Millennium Burnham Building's exterior façade and enhance the nighttime experience from both near and far away.

The Millennium Burnham Building is a historic and iconic department store building situated in Boston's Downtown Crossing. It was recently revamped to welcome a retailer, along with the Havas Village and the offices of Arnold Worldwide.

Lighting designers Lam Partners Inc. were entrusted with the lighting designs of both the Millennium Tower Project and the exterior facade of the Millennium Burnham. The architects, owners, and the Boston Landmarks Commission were also involved in the lighting design, reviewing several mock-ups to evaluate lighting effects and the impact of the hardware on the building.

"The building sat vacant and dark for many years before being developed," says Keith Yancey, Principal at Lam Partners Inc. "The exterior façade had never been illuminated, except for the signs and the marquee lighting located on the historic glass canopy.

"The building's owner, Millennium Partners, wished to celebrate the building's uniqueness and history. They also wanted to return the pedestrian level to its original glory by lighting the historic glass canopy. The retail tenant was particularly interested in introducing a splash of their signature color for special occasions, such as holidays or retailing events."

To achieve this, Lam Partners turned to Lumenpulse for Lumenbeam Grande luminaires with custom RGB boards of white, blue, and green diodes and custom finishes. The customization allows for the façade to bathe in a soft white light, while adding a splash of color at the building's corners when needed. "Thanks to Lumenpulse, we were able to match the retailer's branding colors, a static aqua color, without the need for white light," explains Yancey.

"Lumenpulse built us custom Lumenfacade fixtures with green and blue diodes only. The shape and size of the linear Lumenfacade fixtures was easily integrated into the backside of the reconstructed historic glass and steel canopy, with a small linear baffle to conceal it from normal pedestrian views,'' says Yancey. "Since all of these Lumenbeam Grandes were mounted to the historic canopy, they had a custom finish to match that of the ironwork."

Yancey and his team also used Lumenbeam Medium and Lumenfacades luminaires, which were hidden from view along the building ledges to target the smaller architectural elements along the facade. "The resulting layers of lighting enhance the nighttime experience from both near and far away," he explains.

"We have had a very positive reaction from the City and the client," says Yancey. "The nighttime lighting is finally giving a voice to the quiet details that have existed on the structure for over a hundred years." It has made an impact on the renovated Burnham Building, which in turn has helped reinvigorate Downtown Crossing as the thriving commercial center it once was.

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Location: Burnham Building, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Market: Retail, Urban
Client: Millennium Partners
Lighting Design: Lam Partners Inc.
Architect: Handel Architects

The nighttime lighting is finally giving a voice to the quiet details that have existed on the structure for over a hundred years.

Keith Yancey
Lam Partners Inc