St. Joseph Church in southwestern Indiana has been magnificently restored, showcasing a resplendent blend of interior and exterior beauty through the use of ERCO LED lighting technology expertly controlled with Casambi, allowing for the creation of meticulously crafted scenes that highlight the church’s rich decorations. Energy efficient 48V spotlights, custom-made product applications and high-power outdoor projectors set the tone for a sustainable and flexible lighting solution with high visual comfort.
Faithful watchman of the city
Benedictine monks who emigrated from Switzerland to Jasper, Indiana, built St. Joseph Catholic Church nearly two hundred years ago. The small town of Jasper, which still lives its German roots and traditions today, has here its “center of spiritual life” and an important landmark: the striking, 235-feet-high bell and clock tower of St. Joseph Church is known as „a faithful watchman of the city“. The sacred building, built in the Romanesque style from massive sandstone blocks from regional quarries, has been a National Historic Landmark since the 1980s.
All about the light
In a four-year planning and construction process, the architectural firm Browning Day from Indianapolis, Indiana, renovated the listed church building down to the last detail: Among others, the enormous vaulted ceiling, terrazzo floor and sandstone veneered columns (fourteen in total) were restored, and one of the three Italian marble altars and the historic pipe organ of St. Joseph Church were reconstructed. “When it came to the lighting, it was important for us to emphasize the outstanding historical architecture and sacred art,” says Michael Eagan, Principal, Director of Faith-Based Design at Browning Day: “We installed the luminaires as invisibly as possible. We were primarily concerned with the light.“
Brightly illuminated firmament
In the impressively elongated nave, 193-feet-long, the aim was to highlight the renewed vaulted ceiling, which is painted a fantastic light blue – the vault above the chancel is midnight blue. A total of 120 ERCO Parscan 48V spotlights with integrated Casambi technology were used. They were mounted directly on the capitals of each of the two rows of columns supporting the over ninety-feet-high nave in order to precisely illuminate the individual vaults from below. “The lighting makes the vaulted ceiling appear even higher,” says Michael Eagan, also emphasizing that the light reflected from the ceiling also creates indirect general lighting in the church interior, which is perceived as pleasant and calming.
Flexible lighting design
ERCO Parscan spotlights were also used for the accent lighting of the interior: among others to illuminate and highlight the holy figures, the magnificent altarpieces, the frescoes, the chancel of the sanctuary and the elaborate stained glass windows from the inside. Casambi’s lighting control solution enables flexible light scenes and also facilitates church operations. Light scenarios can be saved and called up as required – for example for baptisms, communions or for the Holy Days.
A signal in the dark
The stone bell tower of St. Joseph Church with a large clock facing all four sides, which is not unlike the famous Big Ben of the English Parliament in London, is illuminated by a total of twelve ERCO Kona projectors mounted directly on the imposing church tower. Its bells, it is said, can be heard even from a distance of ten miles.
St. Church Joseph
Jasper, Indiana, USA
Michael Eagon at Browning Day
Circle Design Group
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