Yale University – Sterling Memorial Library Manuscripts & Archives

Pendant Light & Ceiling Mount Light Restoration 

Project Info

Job Site New Haven, CT

Project Description

Located in the heart of today’s Central Campus, the Sterling Memorial Library is one of Yale’s most prominent buildings, as well as being the largest of all the Yale libraries. Completed in 1930, it was designed by architect James Gamble Rogers and later named for its benefactor, John William Sterling.

It currently houses approximately 4 million volumes on 16 floors of book stacks. It was built in the Collegiate Gothic style, resembling a European Gothic cathedral, with its 60-foot ceiling, cloisters, clerestory windows, side chapels, and a circulation desk altar.

Grand Light completed the historic lighting restoration of Yale University’s Sterling Memorial Library Manuscripts & Archives interior lighting fixtures. This lighting restoration project included the removal and pickup of fifty large bronze pendant lights and ceiling mounts, and over 200 glass shades.

The fixtures were completely dissassembled and components were tested in order to develop an appropriate method of conservation. Each component was ultrasonically and hand cleaned with a proprietary cleaning solution, touched-up where applicable, and protected with multiple coats of a museum grade wax in order to restore the original finish. New glass shades were replicated from originals and etched to transmit light levels, calculated by the design team, from a custom internal lighting cluster developed to fit specific LED lamps.

The largest pendant light, previously used to illuminate such literary works of Charles Lindbergh, Eero Saarinen, Eli Whitney, and the Gutenberg Bible, was modified with custom LED down lights and up lights for drastically improved floor light levels. The eight down lights consisted of adjustable accent lights with snoot and cross louver accessory in an antique brass patina finish facing downward mounted on the exterior. The up lights, mounted on the crown of the fixture, were four adjustable accent lights in amatching antique brass patina finish.

All fixtures were rewired with UL listed components, HIPOT tested in accordance with UL standard 1598, and received new energy efficient LED lamps All exposed conductors were enclosed in fiberglass braided sleeving and were color matched to the fixture finish.


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