2023 Panel Discussion: The Lighting Evolution of the Veterans Room Park Ave Armory

Carla Ross Allen and Paul Marantz from Fisher Marantz Stone; Kirsten Reoch, Park Avenue Armory; Dawn Ladd, Aurora Lampworks; and Marija Brdarski, Herzog & de Meuron

March 7, 2023

1:00pm – 2:30pm EST

Room Location: Murray Hill

Credits: 1.5 LU / Elective

The Veterans Room at the Park Avenue Armory is an extraordinary example of Gilded Age opulence in America. Completed in 1881 by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White, Candace Wheeler and Samuel Colman, the room was illuminated by decorative, hand-forged gas fixtures. Lighting designer Paul Marantz (Fisher Marantz Stone), and lighting restorer Dawn Ladd (Aurora Lampworks) will discuss how these fixtures were converted from gas to electric in the early 1900s and retrofitted to accept integrated LEDs during the room’s recent restoration.

Learning Objectives

  1. To learn interesting facts and history about the Veterans Room and the Park Avenue Armory: from its historical beginnings to its modern multi-functional uses.
  2. To experience the collaborative efforts between the Architect, Lighting Designer, Restorer, and Client. The talk will focus on the efforts made by all for the project’s outcome.
  3. To understand how a historic fixture can be retrofitted using modern lamping sources while at the same time being sensitive to the historic nature of the fixture as well as the revised need of the space the fixture is located.
  4. Attendees can compare gas lighting, incandescent lighting, and the final LED conversion through actual working props.


Paul Marantz
Founder / Consulting Design Principal, Fisher Marantz Stone

Mr. Marantz has had an interest in light from the age of 10 thanks to a marionette workshop. When he was 11, he built a model theatre complete with lighting. Between 13 – 15, Paul lighted modern dance recitals and then spent most of his undergraduate years doing theatre; particularly stage design and lighting. Graduate studies of stage/lighting design while serving as head designer for a Cleveland theatre company, followed by the same role for The Berkshire Music Festival (Tanglewood) Opera led to his career in lighting.

Paul’s first job in NY was Chief Engineer at Lighting Services, Inc. – though he is not an engineer. That was followed by heading Research & Development at Century/Strand Lighting. Then, in 1971, he and Jules Fisher started what is now FMS. The rest is history.

Carla Ross Allen
Senior Associate, Fisher Marantz Stone

Ms. Ross Allen’s early training in product design, with a focus on objects that transform space, opened the door to lighting design. Her formal education, an MFA and BFA in Industrial Design, explored the merging of technology with objects. While this description can be used to describe the many products Carla has developed, the methodology and spatial thinking neatly align with lighting design.

Prior to joining FMS, Carla worked for SOM New York to develop a line of office furniture that focused on new working typologies including the nomadic workforce and shrinking desktop technology. Her work has been featured in museums and design books.

Kirsten Reoch
Director of Capital Planning, Preservation and Institutional Relations, Park Avenue Armory

Kirsten Reoch, Director of Capital Planning, Preservation and Institutional Relations, has worked on the Armory’s adaptive reuse planning and preservation plan for over twenty years. During her time at the Armory, she has managed $165 Million in construction projects including working with the design and conservation team to ensure that the restoration of the Armory is performed to the highest standards. Kirsten has performed all the historical research required for the Armory project, including architectural and archaeological research, research on the art works and furniture collection, and social and military research about the Seventh Regiment.

For the past eleven years she has curated The Malkin Lecture Series, with four speakers annually presenting topics related to the history of the Armory and the Gilded Age. She is the former Senior Project Coordinator for The Walt Disney Company on the restoration of the New Amsterdam Theatre and acted as Project Associate for Tribeca Productions on the construction of film studios within historic industrial structures in Brooklyn. She has worked for the Municipal Arts Society and The National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Ms. Reoch holds a MS in Historic Preservation and Planning from Columbia University and a BA in Art History from Mount Holyoke College.

Dawn Ladd
Founder and principal, Aurora Lampworks

Dawn has been in the business of lighting for 35 years. She is the founder and principal of Aurora Lampworks, a lighting restoration studio based in Brooklyn, NY. Aurora has received numerous awards for its part in the restoration of iconic New York City buildings, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Park Avenue Armory, and the New York Public Library. Beyond the restoration of historic buildings and institutions, Aurora works with a number of New York artists and local community-based organizations. Aurora is dedicated to conservation and preservation, a philosophy that extends to architecture, objects, animals and the planet. It is our pride to do good work, for the better good.

Marija Brdarski
Herzog & de Meuron

Marija Brdarski began her collaboration with Herzog & de Meuron in 2013. Over the past ten years, she has contributed to a number of projects in North America, such as 215 Chrystie and the Park Avenue Armory. She has worked in both the Basel and the New York offices, but she currently resides in Memphis, TN where she is helping to oversee the documentation and construction of the new Brooks Art Museum. In 2015, Marija joined the design team for the restoration of the Veterans Room at the Park Avenue Armory. As the project advanced, she engaged in lighting and product development. After the successful completion of the Veterans Room, she has continued her involvement with the Park Avenue Armory, managing various design studies that envision the future of the institution in close collaboration with the client. Marija received her Master of Architecture from Yale University and her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the Ohio State University.


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