|Here are those
same beams with beautiful wood sheeting covering the music room (now the
British Studies room). You can see one
of the fireplaces under construction and these wonderful decorative fennels. There’s this incredible natural light
crashing into the room from the west.
You’d completely forget to notice that there is no provision being
made for artificial lighting in this room.
There are no exposed electrical lines, no fixtures being installed, or
confidently placed AC outlets anywhere.
As it turns out, this building was designed for natural light.
|But in 1937,
when the mechanical designs for the building were virtually complete, the
electrical engineer from Klauder’s Philadelphia office went to the New York
World’s Fair. And there he saw
fluorescent lights. Because of his
enthusiasm about this new product, the building’s electrical system was
completely redesigned at the last minute.
GE introduced fluorescent fixtures to the commercial market in 1938,
and Norlin was one of the first buildings in the world to be lit
fluorescently. It was chosen “because
of the fine quality of the light … and the claims of economy of operation …
.” Because fluorescents consumed less
than half the power of incandescent lights, you could afford to light areas
that were originally intended to be left dark.