St Pauls Cathedral Building Photo, British Religious Architecture Image, Lighting Design

St Pauls Cathedral Building

New Lighting for Key Religious Structure in London, England, UK

page updated 4 Jul 2014

The brief was to develop a flexible solution to meet the day-to-day operations including worship, tourism, state occasions and events. It was also required to update security, cleaning and maintenance arrangements.

St Pauls Cathedral Building London lighting dome
photograph : Timothy Soar

St. Paul’s Cathedral Lighting

The design was based on mixing a series of ‘layers’ of light:

• General: provided by a series of new and refurbished chandeliers, converted gasoliers, and stall lights combined with a series of specially designed lighting bars that can be folded away to restore the look of the space.
• Architectural: provided from concealed metal halide, linear xenon, cold cathode and tungsten-halogen sources. It includes the uplighting of the main vaults, the dome, transept windows, organ and other major features.
• Liturgical: provided by local lighting to the various altar positions.

Supplementary theatre lighting serves the crossing.

• Entrances: upgrading of entrances.
• Event: upgrading of theatrical lighting systems for events.

St Pauls Cathedral Building St Pauls Cathedral Building
photographs : Timothy Soar

There were numerous constraints including getting permission from many official bodies. This required extensive research into minimising damage to the fabric as well as mock-ups and tests. Other issues included disabled access, the illumination of artworks, limited availability of power and the need to develop a sustainable solution. Achieving the right balance between the operational requirements and ‘character’ was key. Carrying out the scheme in a functioning building presented a considerable challenge as work was only permitted at night. The project took four years to complete.

The lighting scheme is managed by a sophisticated control system which provides lighting scenes and manages energy consumption and lamp life. Control is via a series of touch panels or hand held wireless devices. The system is linked to a theatrical lighting desk for events. The final outcome is seen by all parties as a great success and has been described within the conservation and heritage world as being a ‘benchmark project’.

St. Paul’s Cathedral Lighting – Building Information

Client: Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s Cathedral
Surveyor to the Fabric: Martin Stancliffe
Architect: Purcell Miller Tritton
Lighting Architect: Speirs and Major Associates
Systems Integrator: Light Perceptions
Electrical Engineer : Eng. Design
Photographs: Timothy Soar

St. Paul’s Cathedral Lighting images / information from Speirs and Major Associates 250808

St Paul’s Cathedral
St Pauls Cathedral Building
photo © Adrian Welch

St Pauls Cathedral Architect – Sir Christopher Wren

St Pauls Cathedral Building St Pauls Cathedral Building St Pauls Cathedral Building
photos © Adrian Welch

Location: St Pauls Cathedral, London, England, UK

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Comments / photos for the St Pauls Cathedral Architecture light design by Lighting Architect Speirs and Major Associates page welcome.