Von Karman Creative Campus, Irvine, California
The Von Karman Creative Campus (VKCC) in Irvine, California was designed in a cooperative effort between landscape architecture firm Pakshong Landscape and Architecture Collaborative, and architecture and lighting design firm, Wolcott Architecture. The team approached the project with the mindset that the future of the office is more than just a communal experience: it's one that can fluidly leverage the benefits of an indoor, outdoor model. Where a movable wall that revealed access to the outside world from the cold confines of the office was once luxury, today's workforce is taking their day-to-day operations outdoors more frequently. This means the future of the workforce needs outdoor spaces that not only evoke inspiration and rest but
allow them to transition from their desk without skipping a beat functionally.
With nine buildings, divided into three parcels, and 24 acres of space, the Von Karman Creative Campus presented as many opportunities as it did challenges. It's sprawling, disjointed space made navigating the individual buildings feel more like going through a maze. The mission was to go beyond just cleaning up the space between the buildings but to turn the property into one massive, interconnected experience, with lighting playing a critical part in guiding your way.
The lighting design goal for the million-plus square-foot VKCC campus was to create an illuminated connection between buildings through a glowing pathway reinforcing the 24-hour work environment for the modern worker. Additionally, the site lies in the flight path to a major airport, so the 80+CRI, 4000K LEDs had to conform to FAA review, BUG (B2-U0-G2 per TM-15-11), Dark Sky, and Title 24 requirements while harmonizing with the landscape and hardscape.
Initial lighting sketches included visualizations of IES files modeled in the 3D architectural site plan, allowing accurate and visible illuminance diagrams prior to photometric calculations. Complicating matters the architects wanted high Kelvin but the landscape architects wanted low, so a compromise was made at 4000K., and in the end, everyone toasted success. The dusk transition glides gracefully from sunlight to electric light, as night follows day.
VKCC creates connections between buildings through a green belt that adapts to the new work environment of a creative generation. Constructed to be a multi-functional hub, the green belt encourages gatherings, serendipitous meetings, socializing, playing, and relaxing, even late into the night. To that end, lighting was buried in key areas throughout the green belt to support these pockets of creativity. The main pathway connecting the campus is an interpretation of a stream flowing and directing movement. The pathway not only acts as the main link but engages the zones designed to allow for different functions in a way that enhances engagement.
The natural elements of the pathway speak for themselves, and the approach to lighting was to build it organically into the softscape. Hidden within the lower planting, the lighting here becomes one interconnected experience with the landscape.
Dotted along the pathway were pockets meant to facilitate the 24-hour collaborative nature of VKCC. From outdoor conference rooms to eating areas, these spaces presented the challenge of continuing the uninterrupted natural experience, while requiring their own lighting solutions in order to be functional. Using natural materials like wood, detailed slots were custom built to allow for adequate lighting in these zones while keeping the lighting source inconspicuous.
As seen in LASN magazine, April 2021.