Catholic University of America Garvey Hall


Washington, DC




35,000 SF


Catholic University of America


Perkins Eastman


© Joseph Romeo

Design Team

Situated at the heart of the Catholic University of America campus, Garvey Hall presents as an imposing Tudor Gothic edifice, while also expressing a warm welcome. The nighttime ambiance echoes the architecture with a “lantern” approach, in which architectural apertures and three-dimensional volumes exude warmth and intimacy. Decorative wall sconces and university-standard pole lanterns adorn pathways in all directions, guiding visitors through porticos and the central exterior stair passage connecting upper and lower campus areas. These predominantly full cutoff sources minimize light pollution and are constrained by a timeclock.

The interior lighting design focuses on layered effects to enhance flexibility and accentuate architectural elements, prioritizing visual depth and dimensionality. Discrete and concealed light sources reveal and animate form, volume, finishes, and human interactions, transcending any emphasis on lighting hardware. In the main dining room, three lighting gestures define the space; indirect illumination from concealed uplights accentuates the vaulted ceiling; direct illumination with discrete recessed adjustable accent lights provides supplemental horizontal lighting, serving as key light for presenters; and sparkle illumination with luminous bowl pendants adds scale and decorative appeal.

The clock tower, a focal point rising above the entry portico, features an uplighted ornate ceiling and upper walls accented from concealed sources in the stepped wall profile; a central starry sky feature is illuminated by concealed cove sources. Custom pendant lanterns integrate seamlessly, enhancing the depth and scale of the lounge area below.

A sophisticated interior control system conserves energy based on time of day and usage patterns. Pre-set scenes for time-activated and special events provide ease of control. Garvey Hall embodies warmth, visual comfort, and responsible resource utilization, nurturing students physically and spiritually.

The overall design seamlessly integrates lighting systems to foster a grand and intimate experience that enhances collegiate identity and human-centric interactions in a sustainably responsible way.

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