Professor Zhang Xin Won Two International Lighting Design Awards

On the evening of May 22, the IALD (International Association of Lighting Designers) Education Trust hosted its annual benefit dinner in the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia, PA, USA, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the IALD and announce the winners of the 36th IALD International Lighting Design Awards. The IALD Lighting Awards include twelve Awards of Merit and eleven Awards of Excellence. Zhang Xin, associate professor at the Tsinghua University School of Architecture, won two of the prestigious awards: the Shimen Corridor Bridge in Songyang, Zhejiang province, built by Beijing DnA_Design and Architecture (main architect Xu Tiantian), won Award of Excellence; the Beigai Rice Barns in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, built by Beijing Lu Studio (main architect Lu Xiang), won Award of Excellence.

Tsinghua University School of Architecture Professor Zhang Xin Receives the awards on behalf of X Studio of Lighting Design

The award-winning works are the most innovative and inspiring lighting design projects from around the world over the last twelve months, demonstrating the value of the winners’ lighting design in a global context.

Introduction of Shimen Corridor Bridge

Shimen Bridge, built in 1974, is a masonry (not concrete) arch bridge that links two neighboring villages next to Wuyang Yan, an ancient dam system. The old bridge was transformed into a gallery bridge open to pedestrians only, and the new covered bridge space now provides a panoramic view over Songyin River and a new public space for the villagers, thanks to the trees in middle of the bridge. The new timber-framed bridge has become a major traffic route for crossing the river and a venue for social activities (sightseeing, recreation), as the modern lighting design allows transportation (bridge deck horizontal illumination) and communication (face vertical illumination) at any time even during the night.

The normal operating mode uses concealed lighting of 3000K color temperature installed at the upper parts of the longitudinal beams. The wooden roof panels reflect and diffuse the indirect light gently into the gallery space. This kind of light is suitable for contemplation and gazing over the water while crossing the bridge. Looking from afar, the bridge appears as a warm, dashed line spanning Songyin River.

The weekend operating mode creates a bright atmosphere and a gorgeous setting for market activities:   the 3000K lighting bands installed along the inner edges of the arched frames illuminate the interior space and allow the passing villagers to recognize familiar faces and the goods offered for sale.

The old masonry bridge is a visual memory of the past still responsible for load bearing; and it enhances the beauty of structural form through light. This light is rather cold, echoing the natural light of the sky or moonlight reflected on water at night. It demonstrates the harmonious merging of the bridge with the landscape, and is used for the weekend market mode only.

The nightscape lighting of Shimen Corridor Bridge strengthens not only the connection between the villagers on each side of the river, but also attracts tourists. By doing so, it promotes the development of the local economy and the enhancement of the unique natural and cultural landscape of the region.

Introduction of Beigai Rice Barns

The exhibition halls and workshops of the Beigai Rice Barns in Wuzhen comprise a renovated exhibition hall, a newly built daylight exhibition hall, and a bridge crossing over the exhibition space. The new structures and installations activate the historical space that retains a spatial memory of the past, while transforming the old rice barn buildings into a magnificent modern museum.

The architectural design highlights the historical atmosphere of the Beigai Rice Barns, emphasizing the dialogue between old and new. The exterior of the old barns uses a dark color scheme, and visitors can peek inside the exhibition hall through several openings. Specially made lamps mark the entrance of each building. Linear lights hidden underneath the hand railings illuminate the body of the bridge running across the roof. This is not only functional illumination but also aesthetic lighting, as the form of the bridge arch is accentuated by the lighting effects at night. The bright and visible bridge body creates a striking contrast to the peaceful atmosphere of the barns.

Furthermore, the new interior lighting design allows for more flexibility of displaying artwork in each barn building, while preserving the beauty of the original roof structure and texture of material. The roof structure of each exhibition hall is different. A LED track-lighting system places light at a reasonable angle to the artwork; the direction of light can be adjusted so that most of the light covers the artwork, while facilitating dimming and maintenance. The construction and lighting companies worked together to develop a smart lighting solution: the track-lighting system can be lifted and fixed at any position but does not visually interfere with the interior structure of the special exhibition hall. As a result, the light can tightly frame the artwork displayed at a low position (lighting close-ups) but without reflective glare or shadow. Inside the renovated exhibition hall, linear lamps hidden on both sides of the wall illuminate the roof and present the original roof structure in a soft and indirect light.

The IALD (International Association of Lighting Designers) was founded in 1969, and has its headquarter in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The IALD is committed to establishing global standards (Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct) that promote and maintain the highest level of professional practice by its members and enhance social recognition of professional lighting design. IALD Lighting Awards are known as the ‘Oscars’ among lighting designers, and sponsored by IALD. These awards are one of the three most important lighting design awards in the world and present the highest level of global lighting design.