The needler in the haystack.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Shining a light on City Hall Library


The Vatican's Celestine Hall, a very large, very dark room
vastly improved with adjustable cove lighting.


Plainfield City Hall Library is one of the grandest meeting rooms in the city. Its rich wood paneling, classical columns and Roman transoms (echoed in the backs of the wooden chairs) tell visitors at once that this is a place of serious business.

Even schoolchildren find it awesome and tend to hush when they enter.

It was especially attractive this past Saturday morning, at a joint meeting of four boards (more on that meeting in another post) -- filled with sunshine and an amiable crowd.

But one topic brought up by an attendee spotlighted the dark side of this marvelous space: It is too dark for evening meetings, especially if one has to follow printed agendas or documentation. I joked with a Planning Board member sitting next to me that perhaps the board packets ought to contain a city-issued flashlight.





City Hall Library at a recent evening meeting.
The picture is so muddy and grainy because of the low light level.

While the problem is annoying, the solution is easy and elegant.

Just see what the Vatican authorities did with the Celestine Chapel (at top of this post).

While many times larger than City Hall Library, it suffered from the same problem -- the windows let in insufficient light in the daytime (and of course none at night).

The Vatican's elegant solution was to install adjustable lighting in the coves around the room. The light bounces upward off the ceiling and provides an even light source throughout the room, making special lighting for photography or participants to read by unnecessary.

Why not put Plainfield in a better light?



  -- Dan Damon [follow]


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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dan, people have been trying to shine a light on City Hall for years! Do you think this is the best solution? :-)

Virginia said...

I agree ;just make sure that the Historic Preservation Commission is involved ! It's a great building and we don't want the cheapest, ugliest solution to prevail. Help is just on the second floor .