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Boston University – Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre and College of Fine Arts Production Center by Auerbach Glasow | Auerbach Pollock Friedlander

Auerbach Glasow joined Elkus Manfredi Architects to seamlessly integrate the lighting design concept with the architectural vision. The lighting is a combination of “wow factor” areas like the lobby and theatre and highly functional/practical solutions for the classrooms, offices and studios.

Luo Yan Lobby

The lighting for the Luo Yan Lobby in the Joan and Edgar Booth Theatre is designed to reinforce the architect’s concept that the building should reflect the activity on the street and reveal the student activity within the space while connecting with the urban context. Auerbach Glasow was tasked with lighting the highly-engaging interior. With the transparent nature of the curtain wall, the lighting in the lobby enhances the building’s presence from the street and creates drama by highlighting the warm architectural elements with dimmable LED fixtures. The entrance side of the building also serves as a gateway to the campus. Dimmable LED light sources create a dramatic mood and a stunning nighttime presence. Ambient light levels enhance the slender lines and delicate nature of the façade’s exoskeleton system.

The wood feature wall is washed with light to provide warmth and visibility from the street while backlighting reinforces the changing geometry of the horizontal slats.

Another element is the illuminated Shakespearian quote from Hamlet “To hold as ‘twere the mirror up to nature.” The quote played a role in the design intent for the building and is internally lit with an indigo LED striplight. “We felt like this was an important feature to highlight,” said Sabra Zacharias, Auerbach Glasow’s project manager.

The lighting is flexible to serve the various functions of the lobby as an informal meeting place, welcome area for the theatre and a special events venue for alumni parties and other celebrations.

Joan and Edgar Booth Theatre

BU College of Fine Arts School of Theatre is a well-respected program and the theatre, as well as the lighting has to be adaptable to meet the requirements of a very demanding production schedule. The architectural lighting for the venue was closely coordinated with Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, the project’s theatre consultant. The architectural lighting systems are copacetic with the theatrical systems in terms of function and mobility.

Elkus Manfredi’s concept for the theatre includes kinetic, vertical lines of light initially conceived as decorative elements, although students and performers quickly realized their potential to be incorporated as elements of scenery and part of performances.

The Joan and Edgar Booth Theatre is a learning theatre where students develop the skills for professional theatre careers. The lighting system presets are intentionally intuitive and adaptable for students of all levels. More advanced students can program their own settings on the system.


Featuring dramatic, theatre-inspired ceiling-height graphics, the production wing’s 286-foot-long, 36-foot-high, 12-foot-wide corridor directly connects the studio theatre to the three scene and painting shops. Decorative light fixtures with a custom color provide high light levels to emphasize the graphics and add excitement to this practical and highly traveled space.

Scene Shop

The scene shop is designed to streamline production flow. Raw materials to arrive at the loading dock and storage area, and continue moving to the carpentry and metals shops, then to the paint shop. From there, finished pieces can be moved directly to the Booth Theatre or back through a wide loading corridor to the dock for load out to other venues. Industrial grade wrap around LED fixtures with high color rendering provide shadow-free lighting for safe work environments.

Costume Shop

The theatre’s scenery, prop, and costume shops are hands-on learning environments for students in the design and production program of BU’s School of Theatre. The costume shop along with the scenery, prop and crafts areas, are an essential part of the first-class, hands-on learning environments for students in the design and production program of BU’s School of Theatre. Slim pendant mounted LED fixtures with high color rendering provide shadow-free lighting for late night working environments.

Studios and Faculty Offices

The lighting design for faculty offices and studios is driven by the function of those spaces. Auerbach Glasow’s design incorporates energy efficient lensed light sources providing students with no glare, high brightness learning environments allowing them to easily work at all hours.

Project Team:

Auerbach Glasow

Patricia Glasow, MIES, LC, IALD – Principal in Charge
Sabra Zacharias, MIES, Associate IALD- Associate Principal and Project Manager
Yue Zhao, LEED AP BD+C, MIES, LC, Associate IALD – Associate and Lighting Designer
Nicholas Lee Taylor – Lighting Designer
Camille Baumann-Jaeger – Assistant Lighting Designer (no longer with Auerbach Glasow)

Boston University

Elkus Manfredi Architects


MEP Engineering
Vanderweil Engineers

Structural Engineering
Louis Berger

Theatre and Audio – Video Consultant
Auerbach Pollock Friedlander

Pre – Construction
Bond Brothers

Robert Benson Photography (Images 1, 2 and 3)
Eric Laignel (Images 4, 5 and 6)

Architectural Lighting Equipment List


Faculty offices/Studios: Finelite HPR series
Corridors: HE Williams LLM series
Sound and Light lab: Insight Medley A
Costume Crafts/Paint shop/Model shop/Prop Construction: HE Williams L75LED
Production wing: HE Williams 97 series

ETC Source 4 Mini LED-underside of catwalk
Bega 22040-MOD Blue LED- running light
Meteor Cylinder Mini Series-house lights
Q-tran iQ20 Led striplight-vertical lines of light
Edison Price Sightline S-track/track heads-control booth

Kirlin Lighting LRR downlight and wallwasher-triple height ceiling
Lucifer Lighting 2RE downlight and wallwash -underside of balcony
Targetti Mercure Mini-lines of light in the floor
Acclaim Lighting DGA fixture-backlighting wood slat wall


Loading dock: Bega 66984 LED
Exit doors: BK Lighting NiteStar II LED
Side entrances with canopies: Lucifer Lighting F4RMAS downlight

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