Presented by the Designers Lighting Forum of New York

March 19–20, 2024
New York Hilton Midtown, New York City

2021 Transforming The Oculus

Transforming The Oculus

Bernie Erickson, Facility Solutions Group, Inc. and Sam Updike, At Full Lighting

March 16, 2021

12:00pm – 1:00pm EST


1 LU – Elective


The Oculus opened in March 2016, and is the centerpiece of the World Trade Center Hub. Designed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava at a cost of 4+ billion dollars, the complex is a unique blend of rail station, pedestrian hub, and 75,000 square feet of enclosed shopping center space. The original lighting design was created by Fisher Marantz Stone NYC before LED lighting solutions were a viable technology for the complex architectural space. A lighting upgrade project offered an opportunity to upgrade the main concourse lighting to an RGB system. This presentation will cover the design challenges to implementing a working solution worthy of the space, the emotional and social implications of working in such a sensitive location, the challenge to remain true to the original design intent, and the challenges of implementing the solution in one of the busiest transportation hubs in the world.

Learning Objectives
1. Lighting Design: We will cover the technical challenges the project involved, including extermely limited space for fixtures, and the brightness and long throws required.
2. Lighting Controls: We will cover implementing advanced DMX controls in a non theatrical public project where wireless technology is not permitted.
3. Installation: We will cover the many installation challenges, including the requirement of a 90 foot boom lift on expensive marble flooring, and how a partnership with Local 3 made it possible.
4. Landmark Status: We will discuss working at such an iconic site, and how it required building consensus with all stakeholders, and helping build and convey a vision.


Bernie Erickson LC, CLMC, CLEP
Executive Vice President, Facility Solutions Group, Inc.

Bernie has over 40 years of experience in the electrical industry. He has successfully designed many lighting projects throughout the United States, with projects in the public and private sectors. Bernie currently serves as President and member of the board of NCQLP. The NCQLP is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 to serve and protect the well-being of the public through effective and efficient lighting practice and holds Emeritus status with IES.

Sam Updike
Owner, At Full Lighting

Sam Updike is lighting programmer based in New York City who specializes in lighting controls for Themed Environments, TV Studios, and “Architainment” Installations. Prior to starting his own company, Sam Updike has held various positions in all different aspects of the lighting industry. He’s worked as a shipwide show control technician on cruise ships, spent 10 months in Dubai commissioning an amusement park, and volunteered his time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Sam received a BFA in Theatre from Virginia Commonwealth University and is an ETC Certified Advanced Programmer.