The minimalist design of King’s School in Ely is reflected in the lighting — skylights and a handful of artificial sources. Pennie Varvarides reports

Architect ORMS invited dpa to assist in the lighting design for the new arts department at Kings School in Ely, Cambridgeshire. ORMS’s architectural design for the new-build includes a skylight, exploiting the available daylight.

Ian Clarke, the dpa designer working on the project, says: ‘We didn’t want too much visual clutter. Our approach was to restrict the introduction of lighting equipment to a minimum. We wanted to focus on the visuals of the design and the use of energy, combined with maximising daylight use.’

The task was to create suitable lighting for the two upstairs arts studios. Clarke intended to make the most of the natural light available, with the internal lighting illuminating the walls.

Maxing sunlight: combining daylight with low-key artificial luminaires

Two different types of lighting were installed in the studios. Metal halide lamps were applied to the roof structure, providing light to the soffit while balancing the brightness of the high level day-lit slot and surrounding materials. There are 28 Meyer Superlight Compact S luminaires installed.

60m of lineal suspended T5 fluorescents hang from the timbres of the roof, lighting the workspace below. These are XAL Mino 60 fittings.

By using a simple switch system, energy wastage can be reduced as the two sets of lights are controlled separately. The installed load for the studios is under 10W/sq m.

ORMS integrated low-level lighting around the perimeter to enable people to safely navigate without great intrusion visually. The external presentation of the building during the day is reversed at night with the internally illuminated glazed openings, becoming the lit elements.

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