Lighting Renovation at Portland City Hall, Maine

The historic Portland City Hall was designed by the New York architectural firm of Carrere and Hastings, assisted by local Portland architects, John Calvin I and John Howard Stevens. The impressive building was inspired by the New York City Hall, opened in 1812. Constructed of Maine granite, the building was dedicated in 1912.

However, the facade lighting of the building did not match its architectural grandeur.  The existing metal halide fixtures were failing.  Only the tower was lit.  The front façade light shining from the side wings created hot spots.  The city would add some temporary holiday lights for seasonal colors, but this setup was not effective.  It wanted a robust and energy-efficient lighting system to give this historical building a new look at night. 

Respecting the architectural integrity of this historical building, we utilized existing electrical circuits to power the new architectural accent lights.   All fixtures are invisible from street level.  We selected Matrix wall washers for the roof and side building facades, and Matrix flood lights for the tower and front facade.  To give the front facade even light, two short poles were set behind the trees, and each has 10 - 50W floods.  All the fixtures use the latest RGBW 4-in-1 chips for better color blending.  We fine-tuned the white to find the best color temperature of white to illuminate the gray granite surfaces.   To reduce extra DMX wiring, Wireless DMX was installed with a standalone DMX controller that has scheduling functions. 

In regular time, the Portland City Hall is set at all white.  For holidays like July 4th and Christmas, special color themes were designed and are automatically displayed on the date the theme is set.  A full year’s schedule can be designed and planned to minimize an administrator’s time to manage the schedule.

The first phase was completed right before Portland’s Pride Parade in June.  The crowds that passed City Hall enjoyed a building bathed in the colors of a rainbow.  There are still room for improvement.  In the second phrase, the weather vane on the top the tower will be highlighted with amber color showcasing its gold leaf.  The clock face will be lit from inside.   

Portland City Hall in WhitePortland City Hall in RainbowPortland City Hall for Christmas


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