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KDKA Weather Beacon, Gulf Tower

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

From its construction in 1932 to the late 1970s, the Gulf Tower Building in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, was more than just an iconic part of the city skyline — it also served as a rudimentary weather forecast system for pedestrians on the city streets below. Red and blue neon tube arrays mounted on the step-pyramid peak of the 44-story edifice provided the city with a simple, color-coded forecast system: red light signified fair weather ahead, while blue light meant rain or snow. When the energy crisis of the 1970s forced the Gulf Oil Company to shut down the tower lights, the Pittsburgh tradition of the weather beacon effectively died out, until 2012. The current owners decided to resurrect this much-loved city institution and turned to a Philips Color Kinetics LED lighting solution that could provide both user-controlled color and a high level of energy efficiency. To accomplish this, they hired lighting designers Cindy Limauro and Christopher Popowich of C & C Lighting, LLC, in cooperation with Vincent Lighting Systems (VLS), which provided systems integration, programming, and equipment supply services. Limauro and Popowich specified Philips Color Kinetics ColorGraze Powercore luminaires for the retrofit. Consuming a maximum of only 70 W of energy per fixture, these 4 ft (1219 mm) linear LED wall grazing luminaires provided the energy efficiency and color consistency required for fulfilling the client's vision. 

In total, Vincent Lighting Systems programmed nearly 100 separate lighting timelines in accordance with Limauro and Popowich's designs.

  • Gulf Tower displaying weather lighting
  • Gulf Tower in a rainbow of colors
  • Gulf Tower in holiday colors
  • Gulf Tower showing its patriotism
  • Close-up of the Color Kinetics fixtures on the Gulf Tower
  1. Gulf Tower displaying weather lighting
  2. Gulf Tower in a rainbow of colors
  3. Gulf Tower in holiday colors
  4. Gulf Tower showing its patriotism
  5. Close-up of the Color Kinetics fixtures on the Gulf Tower

About KDKA Weather Beacon, Gulf Tower

03.17.2014

All Photos ©William E. Gossett.

Used with permission.

Lighting Designers

Cindy Limauro and Christopher Popowich, C & C Lighting, LLC 

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