County of San Diego Administration Building, Interior and Exterior Lighting Design Renovation
San Diego, CA

This 1938 building, dedicated to the people of San Diego by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was designed to provide a welcome to seafaring travelers. The building and its 16-acre harborfront site create a graceful and powerful symbol as the focus of County government. The architecture of the County Administration Building is Spanish revival in style with a strong Beaux Arts classical influence. In 1988 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Syska Hennessy Group provided power and lighting designs for the exterior rehabilitation and interior renovation of three floors to the existing building. The new building elements were carefully located to preserve the architectural prominence of the existing historic building and enhance public view. In addition, a new stair-way to the tower was added and interior lighting fixtures were replicated in a historical fashion for all communal spaces. Illumination strategies were also employed to light the building name, flag pole fountain, statue, domes and landscaping.

The stately waterfront structure went from being dark after its costly lighting system was turned off and removed during the 1973 energy crisis to acquiring warmly glowing columns of light. Not only did the better use of light accentuate the building’s beauty, it cut energy consumption by two-thirds from the initial installation. The lighting design received the International Illumination Design Award, Edwin F. Guth Award of Merit from the IESNA.


200,000 sf