The Wiess Energy Hall in Houston’s Museum of Natural Science has recently undergone its third major renovation. Dubbed Wiess Energy Hall 3.0 this expansion and refit was a project three years in the making, creating a comprehensive, interactive and cutting-edge exhibition dedicated to the science and technology of energy.
Paul Bernhard Exhibit Design Consulting led the project, with Christensen Lighting realising the extensive lighting requirements. From the client’s photo-realistic renderings of the exhibit area, Christensen Lighting was given the goal to turn the renders into reality by designing layers of lighting for an immersive experience across all the exhibits.
The project was developed by testing every design detail, working closely with lighting manufacturers and the design and fabrication teams. Drawings were created to show every fixture, every cable and every adaptor used on the project which allowed Christensen Lighting to create a database with exact budgets and control requirements. A total of 1,649 conventional LED fixtures, 6,900 LED nodes, 1,248 feet of animated tape light, 1,040 feet of static tape light and nine LED moving lights were used on this installation.
With several thousand LEDs used on this project, the Christensen Lighting team created a term “Pharos Group” to help them manage their fixtures so they knew how to group, patch, organise and program them on the Pharos control system. A 60-universe Pharos LPC X runs animated timelines throughout the exhibition space, over both sACN and KiNet output protocols to control various fixture drivers and control devices. Three Pharos RIO As were installed to interface over SMPTE to sync complex lighting animations with two 4D theatres and a day-to-night interactive video presentation. The Pharos LPC X also relayed AV commands to a grandMA2 onPC to control a visitor-interactive moving light show.
When we asked Donald G Christensen of Christensen Lighting why he chose Pharos, he explained, “I have used Pharos controls on dozens of permanent and temporary projects with tremendous success. The flexibility and customization of Pharos allow us to create a central server to control a very complex exhibition. The Pharos system simply receives an ON command from the AV system at the start of the day and an OFF command at the end of the day. No other interaction by museum staff or technicians is required. Additionally, Pharos has an excellent group of support technicians that go out of their way to help with any issues and furthermore help create new features as required. There is no other lighting controller on the market that could bring life to this ground-breaking lighting exhibition.”