03-18-22 | Feature

Contemporary Condominiums

Galleria area of Houston, Texas
by Elizabeth Graham, Stirling Electric and Irrigation

Partnering with Houston-based Landscape Architecture firm, McDugald Steele, in the prestigious Galleria area of Houston, Texas, Sterling Electric and Irrigation used a single controller and color-variable light fixtures to implement a lighting plan for the entrance to the 14,000 square-foot Cosmopolitan Condominiums.
The Cosmopolitan Condominium aluminum sign in the eastern fa????ade area is accented with Slender Silhouette Sweetgum trees, Pringle's Yew hedges, and Ornamental Grasses.
Contemporary statues made of 100 percent recycled Polyethylene resin with a white lacquered finished were added to porcelain pedestals at the building entrance. A custom, "V"-shaped lighting element uses a carved 1.5" channel in the porcelain to hold the taped strip light. An acrylic strip then covers the custom piece to finish off the lighting element. Both pedestals include three square aluminum taper planters with boxwood globes on each side of the entrance.
The pedestals were designed to appear as though they are floating over the pavement and smooth moonstones, especially at night when the taped light strip masks the dark pedestal below.
Linear wall sconces were added behind the pedestals to add depth to the entrance and create uniform lighting.

In 2019, as demand for high-end facilities in the Galleria area of Houston, Texas, caused upward expansion, McDugald Steele Landscape Architecture, partnering with Stirling Electric and Irrigation, were tasked with designing an entrance for the 14,000 square-foot Cosmopolitan Condominiums that would make the residents proud.
Located a half-mile from the bustling Houston Galleria area, this ultra-contemporary, 80-unit, residential building's hardscape and lighting layout was designed to complement and unify award-winning developer Randall Davis' building design. The Cosmopolitan Condominiums feature resort-style amenities including a state-of-the-art fitness center, movie theater, wine room, a seventh-floor infinity pool terrace that features South Beach-inspired cabanas, and spectacular views of Houston.
McDugald Steele designed the north entry fa????ade and highly exposed east fa????ade that runs alongside Post Oak Blvd, one of the city's most trafficked thoroughfares. As nighttime appeal was a primary focus, Stirling was called to implement a lighting plan that would best complement the north-facing entrance and eastern monument sign.
Stirling's Director, Bryan Daniel, led the lighting design, from concept, through construction completion working with McDugald Steele to develop a cohesive plan that would fit the character of the design and meet property management's request for one centralized lighting controller.
"We designed the system in such a way that two separate conduits were installed to connect all fixtures and run the system seamlessly." Daniel relayed, "Stirling strategically ran separate conduits from each fixture to the centralized power source and centralized controller in the building. The system's design provides the client flexibility to have different color scene zonal controls when desired. "
Stirling's design called for attention-grabbing lighting, so the team added an auto-switching, multi-voltage power supply, with a touch-sensitive menu to customize the illumination of the building's fa????ade, mature Sweetgum trees, and the aluminum monument sign on the eastern lawn area.
The front entry was designed to be predominantly a hardscape area because of the space restrictions set by the city-owned sidewalk. There, McDugal Steele designed two large porcelain pedestals to flank the main entrance. Each pedestal features a sculpture, made from 100 percent recycled Polyethylene resin with a lacquered finish and is then layered by square aluminum taper planters with boxwood globes. The pedestals were designed to appear as though they are floating over the pavement with smooth moonstone nestled underneath. They also include a strip of tape light to illuminate accentuate the sense of the floating face at night.
"The team quickly realized there needed to be more linear illumination along the sculptures for the whole concept to truly stand out and be eye-catching from the street," Daniel explained, "We were already utilizing lighting flex tape on the underside of the pedestal to illuminate the moonstone, so it only made sense to create a custom lighting element for the sculpture utilizing the same product."
The design team refined the plan in order to create a custom "V"-shaped lighting element. A 1.5" channel was then carved into the porcelain pedestal and an acrylic strip cover was added to the lighting element to match the overall design style. The front entrance fa????ade was completed with two linear wall sconces.

Where the mature Slender Silhouette Sweetgum trees stand on the eastern lawn area, a large Live Oak tree stood. To the dismay of the public, the tree was initially set to be removed. At that point designers and the public began to work together to come to an agreement and eventually were able to remove the tree and create the desired landscaping that now surrounds the "cosmopolitan" sign.
The property was open during construction and keeping the front entryway open was necessary and a bit of a challenge, so Stirling worked with McDugald Steele over a six-month period to complete in project in phases, beginning with the eastern lawn area and moving towards the entry way. By all accounts it was a successful venture that has become an icon is this prestigious Houston neighborhood.


???,??? Lutron AEN60LXLXWNY linear wall scones
???,??? Acclaim Lighting's Dyna Flood XT DMX
???,??? Acclaim Lighting's Flex Spectrum Exterior tape

Elliott Electric Supply


Stirling Electric & Irrigation
???,??? Landscape Lighting, Electrical and Irrigation

McDugald Steele Landscape Architects & Contractors


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