Virginia Theological Seminary Welcome Center


Alexandria, VA




10,000 SF


Virginia Theological Seminary


DLR Group


© Anice Hochlander / studioHDP

Design Team

The circa-1920 neo-classical Welcome Center provides a grand room that reflects the Seminary’s history and mission, while engaging visitors to reflect on the distinctive values of the school. This renovation repositioned the Center as a more inviting and fresher interior space with informational displays, and also transformed its lower level into exhibition space.

Working closely with the exhibition designer and architect, we developed a fixed lighting solution for the welcome center proper. Three historic pendant lanterns, which had been crudely rigged with a series of PAR38 uplights in the past 50 years, were each carefully cleaned up and retrofitted with low-profile high output asymmetric uplights on a separate circuit, allowing the glow to be independent of the indirect source. The replacement diffusion glass allows the glow effect to be more uniform. Recessed small aperture adjustable accent sources were discreetly integrated into the new vaulted ceiling to accent didactic wall panels and objects.
In the lower level, a fully flexible, museum-grade track lighting system was furnished for the galleries. All of the display cases were appointed integrated miniature object and wash sources to allow for rotation of objects. An interactive gallery intended largely to engage children in an immersive experience is in a central space, anchored with a station below a large, concave oculus electric “skylight”, which adjoins objects and didactics that are accented to inspire. All of the lighting sources have individual on-board dimming, carefully tuned to foster balance, comfort, and visual delight.

The integrated dimming control system in the main level’s welcome center allows for preset scenes ascribed to daytime and evening use, as well as more intimate special evening events. The lower-level galleries use a basic system activated by occupancy, per code.

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