The United States Postal Service (USPS) Loop Station is one of three buildings that comprise the renowned Chicago Federal Center Plaza complex, designed by pioneering architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The glass structure is a focal point of the complex as it responds to the public plaza, adding a striking spatial dynamic to the entire site. Appropriate lighting design plays a key role in highlighting its aesthetic quality.
In 2009, the Federal Government enacted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to invest in infrastructure and renewable energy. As part of the program, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) sought to reduce energy costs and meet efficiency standards for the decades-old building. While the GSA pursued energy efficiency, their team also prioritized restoration of the building’s original lighting design.
We worked closely with the GSA under an on-call services contract to conduct a lighting study and provide design for a new lighting system. To minimize energy strain and optimize savings, we evaluated the existing ground floor public space and determined an alternate light source. We assessed lamp choices in the process of selecting light fixture replacements, which were based on annual energy cost and utility considerations.
Our team also evaluated the existing lighting control system, which we compared with the capabilities of a new digital lighting control system. Based on these evaluations, we made recommendations for light fixture and lighting control system replacements. Upon completion of the lighting study, we offered design services for lighting improvements.
Our solutions granted fixtures and systems that exceeded energy standards and complied with Recovery Act guidelines. These improvements significantly lowered costs and diminished energy usage. Importantly, our upgrades tied into a restoration that revived van der Rohe’s original design.