Bradford demonstrates ‘transformative’ power of light

THE ONCE-NEGLECTED Saint Blaise Square in Bradford’s city centre has been transformed into a wondrous space using light and colour, earning it a 2017 Lux Award.

The project beat London’s Oxford Street to be named the Outdoor Lighting Project of the Year.

The category - in association with GVA Lighting – celebrates and rewards the most outstanding project in the outdoor, public realm, façade and streetlighting sector.

The judges cited the lighting at the refurbished Saint Blaise Square for its ‘transformational’ quality in turning an unloved part of the city  into a safe, clean and attractive environment while giving people a warm and colourful welcoming experience.

The scheme’s key innovation is the use of 64 in-ground recessed LED luminaries to illuminate ten heritage railway arches that progress in height, wall façade and trees. The fixtures are discreet in both appearance and performance, not impinging on the view at night and making sure that the eye is taken up to the sweep of the brick arches.

The colour-changing SCULPline luminaires from Schreder are recessed into the block paving at the base of each arch wall

The SCULPline luminaires from Schreder were recessed into the block paving at the base of each arch wall, and four luminaries recessed in a raised planter amongst trees and façade. An intricate layout of underground ducts and chambers conceals a vast length of power and data cables that originate from a discretely positioned feeder pillar which houses the associated electrical equipment.

The in-ground LED luminaires are positioned to graze the textured brick walls of the railway arches

The lighting of the arches is but the latest project in the on-going refurbishment works in Bradford’s city centre. It was the ambition of the city council that caught the judges’ attention.

The lighting of the St. Blaise arches do not sit alone in the city landscape, but connect to other buildings such as the town hall, at the other end of Market Street.

The city centre manager carries the overall control of these lighting features around with him on his tablet. Wireless control enables him to engage with the colour-changing lighting wherever and whenever the need arises.

Often, once lighting scenes have been set, there is very little human intervention and the control system is simply allowed to go about its programme.

Not so in Bradford. The city centre manager has a schedule of city centre activities and often creates lighting scenes for individual events. For instance, the lighting celebrates when Bradford City FC score a goal by sending waves of claret and amber around the city centre.

There are plans to extend the colour-change lighting along Market Street by highlighting features on some of the city’s Victorian buildings.

The city has cupolas, spires and stonework in abundance and negotiations are under way for the next phase in the Bradford City Centre Area Action Plan.

The judges chose to highly commended two other projects in this category, the Nottingham Biocity facade illumination by BDP and the exterior lighting of the  Vicarage Gate House in London by Syntax Lighting.  Oxford Street in London  by Lighting Design International was also shortlisted in this category.

  • View the full list of winners HERE.

 

 

 

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