Modern Museum in Mexico: Designers Use a Combination of GE Lighting and Daylighting to Showcase Art

The Museo Universitario Arte Comtemporáneo (MUAC) University Museum of Contemporary Art is the newest and most modern art museum in México City. Located on a World Heritage Site —the main campus of UNAM, The National Autonomous University of México — the museum is illuminated with a combination of GE lighting products and detailed daylighting techniques for an aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly design.

“This extraordinary building represents masterful architectural design revealed through a careful composition of advanced daylighting and electric lighting systems,” says Mary Beth Gotti, manager of the GE Lighting & Electrical Institute.

The entry to the museum is filled with daylight. Concealed between white structural concrete beams, GE 250-watt Quartzline® PAR38 halogen lamps provide warm, soft wallwashing in the main hall and lobby.

Within the museum exhibition spaces, designers Gustavo Avilés and Juan Carlos Martinez of Lighteam, Gustavo Avilés, S.C. introduced daylight into the interior spaces through special glass that reflects some of the sunlight and diffuses the rest into a “light box” where rays are subjected to a secondary reflection system. This design diffuses light into the exhibition halls while removing UV radiation, reducing color variation throughout the day and seasons and minimizing shadows. Even on cloudy days, the museum halls receive adequate levels of daylight. An automated blind system controls daylighting levels in the space.

“The complex and sophisticated lighting technology installed throughout the museum reproduces reality in color, texture and visual weight,” Avilés comments. “The high color-rendering index (CRI) coefficients, small size, clean design and long-life energy savings of the systems developed by GE created a range of possibilities for us as lighting designers.”

Supplemental diffuse lighting in the museum is provided by GE 54-watt T5 Starcoat® Ecolux® 3500K and 5000K fluorescent lamps in custom asymmetrical fixtures with double secondary reflectors. Accent lighting fixtures with 250-watt PAR38 halogen lamps add contrast. All electric lighting is controlled by a dimming system.

Sustainability and high standards of functional excellence are provided at MUAC, while tight budgets and construction schedules were met.

The annual GE Edison Awards of Excellence are awarded to those lighting professionals who creatively employ significant use of GE light sources (lamps and/or LEDs) in a lighting design project. Awards of Excellence winners are determined by a panel of lighting professionals, including one representative from GE, on the following criteria: functional excellence; architectural compatibility; effective use of state-of-the-art lighting products and techniques; appropriate color, form and texture revelation; energy effectiveness; cost effectiveness and additional features.