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Strand East Tower, Stratford, London, UK

Issue 71 Feb / Mar 2013 : Architectural : Landscape

CLIENT: LandProp Holding LIGHTING DESIGN: Hoare Lea Lighting

The sculptural form of Strand East Tower has become a beacon for the area’s regeneration thanks to a dynamic scheme by Hoare Lea Lighting.

Strand East Tower is a 40m landmark sculpture, located within a newly landscaped public space in Dane’s Yard. The tower signifies the start of a regeneration project, which will transform this 26 acre, near derelict site just south of the Olympic Park into a vibrant, waterside neighbourhood, comprising 1,200 homes, 620,000 sqft of business space, shops, cafes, restaurants and other community facilities, together with a 350-bedroom hotel. The brief from the client, LandProp, was to create a dramatic landmark, which would also achieve excellent sustainability credentials and cost-efficiency. Hoare Lea Lighting worked closely with the designers of the sculpture, ARC-ML architects, and engineers eHRW, to turn this ambitious idea into reality.

Min Sang headed up the Hoare Lea team. “Our intention was to recreate the hidden nature of the architecture with artificial light,” he explains. “The lighting is designed to assist the tower to reveal every unexpected architectural aspect without losing its transparent nature.”

The sculpture’s slender form is made up of a wooden lattice of 72 twisted, diagonal laths and 16 horizontal galvanised steel rings. It narrows in the centre to form a hyperboloid shape, just 6.3m wide, opening out to 8.3m at the top. This creates a light and transparent sculpture, held together by 32,000 bolts.

Visible across Stratford, by day the sculpture is left in its natural blonde colour, but at night it is lit by more than 600 LED lights within the sculpture, which are fully controllable in both intensity and colour and which can be programmed to achieve a range of effects.
The lighting consists of internally located wash lighting and an externally installed dot matrix system.

The internal wash embraces the lattice, by illuminating the internal space and highlighting the negative shapes of the tower form. High-power RGB colour-grazing technology - a combination of Traxon’s Linear Shield AC XB and Wall Washer Shield AC XB, positioned at four different levels - illuminates the structure.

The dot matrix system was designed to be installed at the exact cross points of the lattices, but a new assembly method, adopted at the later stages of the architectural development process, meant the structure would be unable to accept penetrating lighting elements. As an alternative solution, Hoare Lea developed a bespoke acrylic rod system to shift the installation away from the cross point and lift the illumination away from the LED light source, thereby creating a matrix of crisp light points that do not interfere with the timber structure.

Lighting elements were designed to enable straightforward and simple installation allowing maximum cost efficiency. This was achieved by bringing the fabricator, Wood Beton S.p.A and the lighting installer, Lighting Technology Projects on board at the early stage of the design process. As a result, the lighting system was integrated as part of the design of the tower, as opposed to being an add on component.

The individually addressable dot matrix system, integrated externally to the lattice, creates the nighttime characteristics of the Strand East Tower, by forming a secondary layer of light. The matrix of more than 600 fully addressable LED nodes, (supplied by Traxon Technologies) wrap around the tower, creating dynamic and responsive light play.
The tower scheme is controlled by a Traxon e:cue system, which is in turn triggered by the Mode Lighting Evolution system that controls the whole of Dane’s Yard. This provides automated scene settings with local override control, as well as the potential for remote access by the public.

Set within the landscaped grounds of Dane’s Yard (itself illuminated by strips of concealed Optelma LED tape), the tower fulfils its role as a place marker for a range of future investment, as LandProp Regeneration Manager Valli van Zijl explains. “Strand East Tower is a symbol of change, something to give the area a bit of a lift, put a smile on people’s faces, while the wider regeneration takes place. During the day, the tower is a beautiful sculpture of untreated timber, but at night with the 612 LED nodes and more up and downlighters, it takes on a new persona and brightens up a somewhat hitherto neglected corner of Stratford. We are delighted with the result of Hoare Lea Lighting and the whole lighting team’s work, as are the local residents.”

Strand East Tower, Stratford, London, UK
Client: LandProp Holding
Lighting Designer: Hoare Lea Lighting
Sculpture Design: ARC-ML architects and engineers eHRW
Contractor:  Wood BetonS.p. A (Italy)
Lighting Installer: Lighting Technology Projects


600 x Traxon custom LED nodes
68 x Traxon Linear Shield AC XB( RGB) 27 LED
19 x Traxon Wall Washer Shield AC XB( RGB) 18 LED
8 x Lightgraphix LD64 stair lighting
Optelma LED tape
Traxon e:cue system - tower LED control
Mode Lighting Evolution System - overall lighting control


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