There is a term, popular in the automotive segment, that defines a particularly important project or product, one that defines the company’s mission and legacy. That term is “halo project.” The project or product a CEO hauls out to impress the client, potential client, competitor, media, or government. While most companies strive to create a halo project or product, not all succeed. The elements that go into such a project vary but most are spectacular, innovative, and visible.
As an example, take New York City’s famous Pennsylvania Station. More than 600,000 commuters travel in and out of Penn Station every day, making it one of the most visible landmarks in the city if not the nation. The station itself has undergone multiple changes since it was opened in 1910. Named for the Pennsylvania Railroad, its builder and original owner and the largest corporation in the world at the time, the original building was an ornate station designed by McKim, Mead, and White and considered a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style. When completed, it enabled direct rail access to New York City from the south for the first time.
Penn Station has 21 tracks fed by seven tunnels, including its two North River Tunnels, four East River Tunnels, and one Empire Connection tunnel. The station is located beneath Madison Square Garden, also a landmark, and in the James A. Farley Building, with additional exits to nearby streets.
Historic buildings like Penn Station and Madison Square Garden deserve preservation and, equally important considering their daily activities, safety, and comfort improvements. It’s not like they are museums, they are working buildings. The issue that faced MTA/AMTRAK planners was what to do with the crumbling and outdated infrastructure of Penn Station. The result was that in April 2021 Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the Empire Station Complex, a mixed-use development that included the reconstruction of Penn Station.
Working to keep the station working are a number of companies adding their innovations and expertise in remodeling aspects that need improvement. For example, since the completion of the recent renovations to the historic station, Penn’s main entrance on 33rd and 7th is now lit by an illuminated ceiling fixture above the main escalators created by Apogee Lighting. This lighting design is the first interior visual that people will see when they now enter Penn Station.
If first impressions are the most critical, Apogee served its client well. Out of the 20 entrances into Penn Station none is busier or more important than what is considered the main entrance. As people enter the interior and descend by way of the extra-long escalators they will see an incredible lighting achievement, made possible by a team of lighting professionals including Apogee Lighting, General Contractor Forte Construction, and Lighting Designer HLB.
The job for HLB was to design something that was immediately breathtaking and a signature visual that the visitor would see representing the completely redesigned Penn Station Main Corridor. Designers like HLB understand the balance between their vision and what is possible and that’s why the partnership between HLB and Apogee has yielded impressive results. Each depends on the other’s capabilities when it comes to truly creative achievement and the Penn Station Main Entrance is indicative of this partnership.
For Apogee’s part, the triangular array hanging from the ceiling is all custom architectural metal work, done to HLB’s specifications and containing individual IP65 rated Lightscape Diffused Membrane Fixtures powered by Pixel Luminous Ceiling LED Panels and diffused via a custom polycarbonate lens. These were accented by custom IP65 rated linear fixtures. Securing the array in its configuration and ensuring it was hung at the proper height and angle was facilitated by Apogee fabrication and engineering of the custom metal superstructure and custom hanging points. Finally, the initial layer that the eye sees of the circle patterns within the triangular fixture was fabricated by Apogee based on HLB’s vision.
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