Sunday, May 11, 2014

WTC LEDs to Turn Skyline Into a Dazzling Lightshow

The Empire State Building’s energy-efficient LED lights have been adding a bright burst of color to the NYC skyline, and now it looks like One World Trade Center will be joining in on some of the luminous fun. The Durst Organization, a part owner of One World Trade Center, has already fitted LEDs onto the spires of its other buildings at 4 Times Square and One Bryant Park, and the tallest skyscraper in the western hemisphere will be getting the same treatment. 

The city’s skyline is becoming a rainbow of dancing colors as more tall towers add programmable LEDs to their tops and antennas.

What was once stagnant and mostly white or a primary color is now alive with tints and effects heretofore only seen on the Broadway stage.

Soon the nightly dance led by the Empire State Building will include the top of One World Trade Center, where the hues and swirling lights may be coordinated with those enlivening 4 Times Square and One Bryant Park — all owned in full or in part by the Durst Organization

At 1,776 Feet, One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

The height is a skyscraping salute to the nation’s founding, but the real symbol of New York’s resilience sits atop the building’s 408-foot spire—a rotating white beacon composed of 264 50-watt LED modules that make it visible from as far away as Connecticut —a feature planned, but never implemented, for the original twin towers.

As for the spire, it contains about 1,500 LEDs of its own—which will allow for a breathtaking light show.

“We can define any hue or brightness level,” says Mark Domino, the digital-media artist behind the building’s illuminations, and son-in-law of Douglas Durst. “There’s an RGB value charged to each light that can be controlled independently.”

The result is millions of potential color combinations and even animation. Domino has real-time control over the lighting program via his Android phone.

Once 1 WTC’s 1,776-foot-high spire lights are added to the skyline, its nighttime silhouette will appear even taller than during the day, just as the Empire State Building’s full antenna lights make a dramatic difference, showing off its full height of 1,454 feet.

Currently, the 1,776-foot-tall building is still lit by construction lights with a single red dot atop its spire to signal airplanes.

The Empire State Building recently went through an LED makeover. 

Beforehand, the landmark building used floodlights, which were fitted with colored gels that only came in 10 primary colors. But now with over 1,200 LEDs, the Empire State can display 16 million colors in vivid combinations.

On top of its colorful light shows, LEDs have helped Manhattan’s most famous landmark save $4.7 million in energy savings within the first two years following the green retrofit.

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