The Basilica Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, also known as Higuey Basilica,
in the Dominican Republic, is more than a religious temple. Because of its
unique, avant-garde construction, it is one of the most important
architectural works in this predominately Catholic nation.
The Higuey Basilica represents the holy place of the spiritual mother of the Dominicans, Our Lady Of Altagracia. Thousands visit the site on Altagracia Day, (January 21) each year to celebrate the Sabana Battle, a Dominican victory over the French on January 21, 1691. In honour of the battle, the Higuey Basilica was officially inaugurated on January 21, 1971.
Designed by French architects A. Dunoyer de Segonzac and Pierre Dupre, the concrete structure is dominated by a 75-metre high arch. To highlight the architecture, a lighting scheme was completed in September 2002, bathing the gray concrete in bright color from sunset to midnight.
Architectural effect lighting systemThe main motive behind the project was to provide the Basilica with an architectural effect lighting system capable of highlighting the architectural modernism of the design, which is admired by Dominicans and millions of tourists annually.
The original concepts were developed by Martin's exclusive distributor in the Dominican Republic, Centrolux, together with the technical personnel of the Higuey Archbishopric and the Patronage members of the Basilica of Nuestra SeĆ±ora de la Altagracia.
As Centrolux had previously completed indoor and outdoor conventional lighting of various notable temples, they were contacted to make a proposal for the Basilica. Once the technical personnel of Centrolux decided to propose an architectural effect lighting solution, they had to sell the idea to the Higuey Archbishopric, the Basilica Patronage and the Dominican Municipal League. After a half dozen meetings in which were discussed the details of the project, they got the final approval.
Edgardo Boquñ, President of Martin Professional Argentina S.A, the Martin Argentina technical staff, and Peter Hald, Martin's Area Sales Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean, were instrumental in the installation, start-up and programming phases.
Exterior 600 and Exterior 600 CompactCentrolux and Martin Argentina's technical staff studied several outdoor conventional lighting options before deciding on the Martin Exterior 600 range. The task was a bit complicated due to the lack of detailed plans of the temple. This situation forced Centrolux to work based on incomplete plans, metrical surveys in situ, pictures, and air views.
The Basilica is illuminated using 4 Martin Exterior 600 and 22 Exterior 600 Compact. The Exterior 600 and Exterior 600 Compact were suitable for the specifications required and offered a high level of protection from the sometimes severe weather of the region. Control Is from a PC-based Martin LightJockey.
Taking advantage of the characteristics of the structure, some adjustments were made to the original design to get nearly all the fixtures installed on the ceiling of the perimetric corridors so as not to affect the outer view of the construction. Amber and light blue were first chosen as primary wash colors but more dramatic shades were implemented to increase the visual impact like the blue, white and red of the Dominican flag.
Edgardo and Peter participated in the inauguration and had the pleasure of meeting the first lady of The Dominican Republic. The Archbishop was also very excited and all guests were quite impressed with the illumination project.