THE URBAN LANTERN
One of the most stunning features of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History’s new building is the “Urban Lantern,” an element common to structures designed by architects Legorreta + Legorreta. As a beacon of learning, and as the anchor of the new Museum campus, the Lantern serves as the main entrance to the 166,000-square-foot building.
“The idea of creating an urban lantern came from the notion of orientation within the city,” said acclaimed architect Ricardo Legorreta. “In the same way that lighthouses guide ships at sea, we wanted to guide people in the city to the museum.
“At the same time, we were able to play with two elements that are always present in our architecture and we think symbolize a lot of what this museum is about – light and color,” Legorreta added. “In our interpretation, light symbolizes knowledge, creativity, imagination, and spirituality. Color, on the other hand, for us means passion for life, humanism and happiness. After working in the museum we have found that all these values have always been an integral part of its philosophy.”
The Urban Lantern measures 76 feet tall, including glass panels, steel, and stone base. It is comprised of 97 glass panels with a yellow frit pattern, each measuring 5’-7” x 5’-7” and weighing 500 lbs. each.
The Lantern is illuminated using LED (light-emitting diode) and compact fluorescent lights. Interior lighting is via compact fluorescent sconces around the lantern. Each LED fixture is 50W if powered with all LEDs at maximum power (brightest white). With a yellow/golden color, output is less than half – 20-25W per fixture.
The Lantern has 32 fixtures, all of which are full color changing and fully dimmable, and can be set to various colors and apparent brightness levels. It is illuminated automatically via the astronomical time clock. The on-time changes with the seasons. The off-time is set by the Museum. “This Legorreta element is especially important to our building,” said Museum of Science and History President Van A. Romans. “It serves not only as a landmark beacon in our city, but also as a welcoming beacon, lighting the way for our visitors into an environment of learning.”