Rowell Brokaw Architects, PC in association with Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design


The Hult Center for the Performing Arts is one of the “great rooms” of Eugene. After more than 25 years of use, the lobby’s lighting limitations were well-known; light levels were inadequate for many uses; and staff had become practiced in the art of the work-around. There was no comprehensive plan for the space. 

The Master Plan offers coherent, appropriate, phased solutions to the functional and experiential lighting challenges that faced the Hult Center in 2008. It builds upon the space’s architectural strengths, does not conflict with the lobby’s primary uses, and is easily adjusted to a variety of activities. At the highest level, the design solutions address energy efficiency, allow for easy maintenance and adjustment, and create a dazzling, dramatic impression from every entry. In 2012, the first phase of construction was completed just before the Hult Center’s 30th birthday.


The Lobby of the Hult Center for the Performing Arts is one of Eugene’s “great rooms” – during the day. But at show time, the building’s original lighting system left the 
vaulted space dim and dull. The original fluorescent fixtures emphasized the Lobby’s diagonal beams, but left everything else in the dark. Worse: these ineffective fixtures required 
scaffolding to relamp, draining hard-won maintenance funds to complete the simplest task. As a result, workarounds were proliferated. Energy consumption, maintenance, and aesthetics were all problematic. 

With the Hult Center’s design, Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer sought to express the Pacific Northwest landscape – with its fir forests, cloudscapes, peaks and winding rivers. With the renovation of the Lobby’s lighting, this architectural concept is now illuminated to the city. The new design builds on the original intent by emphasizing the Hult’s unique materials and timber structure. A custom luminaire was designed to highlight the vertical columns and wash the wood ceiling in a warm glow. The fixture also neededto accommodate 43 unique column conditions, from short to tall, with twists and checks in solid timber, while appearing elegant and unified. 

Like an oil painting restored to its original lustre, the renovated lighting has brought new life to the Hult Lobby. It highlights the drama of the structure, warms the jewel-like color palette, and complements the bronze artworks and playful carpet patterns.The renovation also reduced the Lobby’s lighting energy use by more than 50%, while dramatically increasing the quality and quantity of light.