Ontario Association of Architects Headquarters Recognized with Sapphire Design Excellence Award

Ontario Association of Architects Headquarters

Dec 6, 2021

This month, we explore a highly energy-saving application of networked lighting controls at the Ontario Association of Architects Headquarters, which earned a 2021 Design Excellence in Networked Lighting Control Award for Energy Management. Lighting control design by Gottesman Associates. Lighting control system by Lutron Electronics.

This 30-year-old building was the winning entry of an international design competition. Owner-occupied by the architects’ association, licensing over 4,000 members, with four light switches controlling all 22,000 sq.ft.

The goal of renovation was to achieve Net Zero carbon of The 2030 Challenge in 2020. A team approach with holistic view was taken; all building systems were analyzed together to achieve optimal energy efficiency. Sustainable lighting systems and controls were identified as pillars of project success.

Extensive daylight modelling informed glare-mitigating glazing decisions and lower target illuminances. Luminaire placement was carefully selected to ensure easy accessibility for maintenance. Flicker free, 35K, 90+CRI LED was used throughout. Contrast ratios guided illumination of vertical surfaces and tasks.

Design mandate was to maintain and complement the original architecture. Lighting made use of the complicated structure, revealing interesting features and characteristics. Many luminaires were integrated, concealed from view. Where visible, luminaires mimicked architectural elements reinforcing building form and creating beautiful ambiance.

Indirect lighting floats the building above the ground floor parking, exposes the volume of the 30-ft. atrium, provides flexibility in meeting and council rooms, and delivers comfortable ambient light at reception and offices.

Lighting controls were critical for projects success with luminaire choices and multi-function spaces requiring compatibility and integration of drivers and lighting protocols, working harmoniously for system control. The required system dashboard is used for continuous monitoring of energy consumption and connectivity to building automation system.

Expandable, flexible wireless control system includes daylight harvesting, vacancy sensing, light level tuning, and involved rigorous commissioning. Photocell placement was tricky due to daylight redirecting film on upper clerestory windows and electrical uplighting. The ultimate result: average operating load is ~.1W/sf, with ~75% reduction in consumption compared to pre-renovation.
Budget was tight and met. Energy goals achieved. The project is a shining example of cost-effective, efficient, creative and controlled design.

The building floats with glowing transparency. Rectangular and linear luminaires reinforce building form; same luminaire with custom bend emphasizes curve of feature stair. When building is unoccupied, lighting is set to a minimum: only dimmed parking and curved feature stair lighting are used for security and to expose the building’s unique presence.












The reception area is well demarcated. Lighting controls tune and dim luminaires, and turn them off when spaces are unoccupied.

Ontario Association of Architects Headquarters











Layers of light bring the central atrium to life. Luminaires are well concealed in complicated structure, minimizing glare and adding depth and mystery. Vertical surfaces and tasks are well illuminated. Lighting controls help create different moods. DMX controlled RGBs are intended for special events in this multipurpose space. All lighting responds to automated controls.

Ontario Association of Architects Headquarters












Suspended luminaires in partitionable council/meeting rooms are two-circuit, separating uplight from downlight for flexibility. Daylight harvesting control sets maximum light output. Controls tune the maximum light level available to users. Tuning can be adjusted in the future for lumen maintenance, increasing useful life of luminaires.

Related Articles

Changing Scene

  • Vancouver International Airport Deploys Quanergy 3D LiDAR Solution to Improve Passenger Journey

    November 30, 2023 Leading LiDAR Solution Overcomes Legacy Challenges to Deliver Significant Cost Savings and Enhanced Operational Efficiency Quanergy Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of 3D LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) security solutions, was chosen by Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to analyze footfall and passenger journey and ultimately improve passenger happiness. Quanergy’s solution surpassed the… Read More…

  • Beluce Canada Welcomes Vice-President of Sales and Marketing Justin Arghittu

    November 30, 2023 Beluce is pleased to welcome back a familiar name, Justin Arghittu. Justin joined the BeLuce team on Monday, November 27, as Vice-President of Sales and Marketing. Justin undoubtedly brings his extensive 30-year electrical lighting industry knowledge, including his passionate sales leadership mindset. Beluce is excited to welcome Justin back, who will be… Read More…


  • Lightemotion Illuminates Viger Square – A Beacon of Rejuvenation

    November, 2, 2023 All the World’s a Stage: Lightemotion’s Personification of Inanimate Objects Infuses Life Into an Urban Public Square     Lightemotion, a global lighting design consultancy creating pathways to enhance human experiences, proudly presents its enlightenment of Square Viger, a neglected public space bridging Montreal’s contemporary downtown core with the preserved history of Old… Read More…

  • TD Garden Project Receives 2023 IES Lighting Control Innovation Award of Merit

    TD Garden Project Receives 2023 IES Lighting Control Innovation Award of Merit

    October 27, 2023 This month, LCA explore a high-impact networked lighting control solution installed at TD Garden in Boston. Lighting control design by HLB Lighting Design. Photography by Andy Caulfield and Bret Osswald. TD Garden, Boston’s legendary sports and concert venue, lacked a physical connection with fans and the surrounding neighborhood. This 1.5 million square… Read More…

New Products

  • Safety Meets Savings: The 5CCT Fire Rated Thin Line by Magic Lite

    Safety Meets Savings: The 5CCT Fire Rated Thin Line by Magic Lite

    November 30, 2023 For distributors, contractors, and architects emphasizing safety and affordability in lighting solutions (without compromising the budget), Magic Lite presents the 5CCT Fire Rated Thin Line. Going beyond its impressive 2-hour fire rating, this luminary masterpiece gives you the power to shape lighting environments with 5 selectable color temperatures and lumen outputs ranging from 800LM (4-inch) to 1100LM (6-inch). Other… Read More…

  • SATCO|NUVO LED T8 Lamps with Emergency Battery Back Up

    SATCO|NUVO LED T8 Lamps with Emergency Battery Back Up

    November 29, 2023 SATCO|NUVO’s T8 Lamps with Battery Backup are the latest solution for commercial linear tube installations. Providing up to 90-minutes of illumination in the event of a power failure, these lamps are ideal for use where backup lighting is essential. Available in 15W and 17W options, both are designed to replace our most… Read More…