Edge Lighting Glazing with Hidden Fixtures

Integrate Dynamic LED Light into Modern Glass Facade



Photo of Dave McCarroll

Dave McCarroll

KGM Architectural Lighting


Photo of Dan Weinreber

Dan Weinreber

KGM Architectural Lighting


Photo of Lei Fu

Lei Fu

KGM Architectural Lighting




Dynamic architectural lighting in urban areas is a key element in creating attractive nighttime icons in addition to potentially generating advertisement revenue for property owners. Modern architecture, especially iconic high-rise buildings, tend to utilize glazing systems to express a clean and polished design theory which creates a big challenge for facade lighting designs. Traditionally, the night view of a city is dominated by flood lighting and dynamic billboards, but neither of these techniques work well with glass facades. Flood lights can only be used on facades with big, solid surface areas since clear glass cannot “catch” or reflect light; LED billboards need extra structural and electrical systems protruding out of the building which breaks the purity of the design. As a result, an integrated design approach, a system with hidden light sources that could achieve a similar effect as the traditional flood lighting, is required.

This paper provides valuable case studies on multiple award-winning high-rise projects and explores the process in selecting, developing, detailing and engineering an integrated LED glazing system in a clean, architectural way. Doing so will not only reduce the construction, maintenance and energy cost, but can also create active, attractive and healthy interior and exterior environments which are profitable to the clients.


“Building façade” generally means any face of a building given special architectural treatment and is of great importance to building from both a design and engineering point of view. Building

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Case 1 - Illuminated Frosted Glass Edge on Highrise Building

The first project is a proposed 58-level, 846 feet tall highrise tower in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China by SOM Architects, Chicago. The building is going to be the tallest building

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Case 2 - Illuminated Fritted Glass Panel on Commercial Projects

Figure 6: Dragon Roof of Qibao Powerlong in Shanghai.

The second project is a mixed-use outdoor shopping complex in Shanghai, China, designed by Jerde Partnership. The project is located 3 miles

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Conclusion and Future Work

The two projects demonstrate the possibility of using hidden light sources to light up glass surfaces from edge. However, with the limitation of simulation programs and data on new glazing

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The projects was designed and supervised by SOM Architects and Jerde Partnership. Lighting system design could not be accomplished without their extraordinary vision.

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The Lighting Handbook, 10th Edition, Reference and Application. Illumination Engineering Society. New York, New York.