On November 4, 2006, the Baltimore Basilica of the Assumption Cathedral opened its doors after a two-year, $32 million renovation; as reported in the November 2005 issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, Brown & Heim Inc. was responsible for the electrical work. General contractor Henry H. Lewis Contractors LLC awarded them the project in May 2004.

The designers performed all of the design/build work in conjunction with the architects to ensure the fulfillment of the owner’s requirements. The original plans had to be modified to allow devices to be relocated on plaster or brick surfaces only, and access and floor boxes had to be placed in non-public areas so as to not affect the architectural importance of the structure.

The most expensive and important part of the project, however, was the lighting. The system consists of new exterior and interior lighting and dimming control system. Brown & Heim used both modern and replicated historic fixtures, provided by Shepherd Electric Supply of Baltimore. In all, Brown & Heim installed approximately 900 new fixtures.

Because of the architectural renovation, the cathedral can now take advantage of natural light. The dome now features an “oculus,” which channels light down into the nave and sanctuary, and the stained glass windows have been removed and donated to another church. The sunlight shines through the tall side windows.

“The brightness of the place is what’s most striking,” said Monsignor William F. Burke, of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. “It’s a much more cheerful, celebratory place from that perspective.”

Brown & Heim also provided state-of-the-art backup power and fire alarm and security systems.

For a more detailed report of the project, see the full story in the archives section of www.ECmag.com.        EC