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CS Design illuminate the SunLife Building

This exterior lighting project was commissioned to mark the 100th anniversary of the Sun Life Building. Giving onto one of the most prominent urban squares of Montreal (Dorchester Square), the 26 story Sunlife Building was the largest building in the British Empire for over fifty years.

Playing upon the metaphor of the rising sun and the existing clarion sound system which has been in use since Expo 67, the lighting design rises dynamically from the base to the crown of the building, in tandem with any number of acoustic accompaniments. In order to increase the perceived height of the building, the design accentuates the vertical elements of the building composition, such as the engaged columns on the main facades and the free-standing ionic columns of the front portico and balconies of the 17th floor.

After extensive mock-ups on site, the 3500K color temperature was specially selected to match the flamed Stanstead granite facing of the building.

Due to the heritage value of the building, the selection of the new fixtures was to offer a discrete aesthetic, non-invasive installation and minimum maintenance. Tight beam angles and aiming analysis was implemented, to avoid light pollution, minimize glare within the building (tenant’s offices). Completed over the course of the winter, the installation was complex, requiring mock-ups and fixture testing.

In addition to the challenges presented by the integration of equipment to the existing structure, a new controls backbone and electrical distribution network was pulled through existing cores and vertical shafts. The DMX control system specified allows the creation of sequences and communicates with the existing building maintenance control. The new lighting system produce a 25% energy savings over previous dated equipment, even while increasing fixture count and coverage.

Project Credits

1155 Metcalfe St, Montreal (QC) H3B 2V6, Canada

Bentall Kennedy
SunLife Financial
Groupe Mach

Year of completion

Paule Boutin architecte
Riopel Architects


Other consultants
GO Multimedia

Electrical contractor

Photographic credit
Paul Poirier

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