Theses Master's

Grand Central Terminal's Original Lighting: Its Significance, Its Relationship With the Current Scheme, and Recommendations for Alternate Considerations

Suarez, Santiago

Grand Central Terminal's original lighting is an essential feature and constitutes a fundamental component of the station's interiors because its planning corresponds with the functional paradigm of coherence and clarity by visually distinguishing spaces, it is as important as architectural form in the main concourse in establishing the aesthetic character and style of the building, and it represents chief principles of the role of artificial lighting in the early twentieth century. For these reasons, lighting should be considered an important part of what gets preserved in the building as it relates to architecture. Metro-North Commuter Railroad of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of New York works persistently to improve the conditions of the National Historic Landmark. In the late 1990s, Metro-North hired Beyer Blinder Belle to carry out a master plan and restore the integrity of Grand Central Terminal. However, after a comprehensive lighting restoration, the current scheme does not establish the aesthetic character and style of the building that corresponds with the outdoor theme of the architecture. The atmosphere of the main concourse still evokes emotion and generates memories, but the feeling of limitless expanse, which was an important element of the original narrative, is not as powerful today as it was in 1913. This document presents those lighting concepts and provides a methodology to evaluate the significance of lighting in a historic structure.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for SuarezSantiago_GSAPPHP_2015_Thesis.pdf SuarezSantiago_GSAPPHP_2015_Thesis.pdf application/pdf 80.8 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Bollack, Francoise A.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 20, 2015