Our Lady of the Angels Chapel (Charlestown Chapel) in Catonsville, Maryland

Our Lady of the Angels Chapel (Charlestown Chapel)

In 1997, Spears/Votta & Associates, Inc. won the International Illumination Design Award - National Award of Merit
from the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America for the exemplary lighting design renovation of
Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in Catonsville, Maryland

SVA provided the design of a new lighting system and related dimming controls for a 3,500 square foot historical church, originally constructed in 1912.

Owner: Our Lady of the Angels Chapel
Engineer / Lighting Designer: Spears / Votta & Associates, Inc.

The retrofit of Our Lady of the Angels Chapel, also known as the Charlestown Chapel, called for providing adequate reading illumination in the nave, glare free 3:1 illumination ratio at the pulpit/lectern/altar, and highlighting architectural features with unobtrusive luminaires. It presented a unique challenge due to an 80 foot high dome at the front center of the space, leaving no convenient location for luminaires. Cold cathode (3000K) is used to light the dome with even illumination. Two proscenium arches are also lit with cold cathode, which at the time of construction was the only known example of its kind in the nation. Cold cathode was chosen not only because it provides even illumination along the curves, but it is energy efficient and its long life reduces maintenance in these hard-to-access spaces. Low voltage halogen spotlights were custom installed in the curved reveals on each side of the dome to accent the pulpit, lectern, and altar. These are accessed from a catwalk above for ease of maintenance. The original wall and suspended luminaires were restored/replaced, adding to the ambiance. The previously unlit nave ceiling is lit with halogen indirect luminaires highlighting the ornate architectural features. The system is controlled by a preset dimming system with integral timeclock for ease of control while preventing wasted energy. Illumination levels are correct for worship with no glare at any location. Illumination blends with the architecture to create an awe inspiring setting.

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