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The Dayton Arcade

Completed in 1904, the Arcade consists of five interconnected buildings. At the center is a glass-domed rotunda space, spanning

90 feet in diameter and 70 feet high. It’s famous for the turkeys keeping watch from above. Originally this space was a market for

fresh foods and vegetables. Today the Arcade serves as a public passage way, but also functions as a gathering space for

corporate events and weddings.

historical arcade.jpg

Electrical lighting has always been a part of the rotunda. Photographs from early 1900’s indicate an armature of industrial lights with perhaps incandescent or mercury vapor lamps hung above rows of merchant stalls. During World War II, the skylight was “blacked-out” in preparation of possible enemy attacks. A decorative umbrella with incandescent lights hung from the center ornament, while merchant stands are illuminated from overhead fluorescent strips. In decline from urban flight to the suburbs, the Arcade was a shell of it’s former self by the 1970’s. A large renovation took place in the 1980’s, transforming the rotunda by removing the black-out paint from the skylight and excavating to the basement floor creating a sunken food hall. Common lighting from 80’s was installed, including marquee lights running the ribs of the skylight and large metal halide bowl-shaped uplights on the columns. The Arcade closed in 1990.

The renovation of the Arcade is featured in the three part documentary "Waking the Giant"


Taking cues from historical fixtures that once were suspended in the halls of the Arcade complex, new globe lights greet visitors from the 4th street entrance. The globes feature an integral LED source and metal armature with adjustable chain to adapt to various ceiling heights. Secondary concourses are illuminated with utilitarian downlights and cylinder pendants to become visually discreet in the background of the rotunda.

An intentional ring of light is created with surface mounted channels fitted with LED pin-lights at each arch. The result is a visual break at the floor between the concourses and the large expanse of the rotunda floor, delineating  public versus private space when special events are in progress. 


Inside the rotunda space, the decorative umbrella from the 1940’s was removed, exposing the original cherry pie medallion. Today this ornamentation is fully illuminated for the first time with miniature ellipsoidals installed atop the new 30 foot diameter truss.

The truss is suspended 50 foot above the floor and carries an array of moving heads, color changing ellipsoidals and house lights. 

Color changing sconces replaced 1980’s bowl uplights. The turkeys atop the cornice are celebrated with miniature LED uplights.

The new lighting in the rotunda is pre-programmed with color changing scenes for various holidays and wedding events. The stage is set for a new future for the Dayton Arcade.

Special thank you to the team at Scenic Solutions for realizing our vision with installation of the  truss, truss lights, DMX controls & programming. 

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