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Mossley Hill Church, Mossley, Liverpool, UK

Issue 72 April / May 2013 : Architectural : Church

CLIENT: Mossley Hill Church LIGHTING DESIGN: Light4

The Mossley Hill Church in Liverpool has been a place of worship for generations, but a beautiful gothic side chapel has so far gone woefully under lit. A new lighting design from Light4 was commissioned to right the wrong.

Light4 was appointed by Mossley Hill Church, Liverpool, to design a new lighting installation for the refurbishment of their chapel. The brief was to deliver a scheme that offered a variety of lighting scenes to suit the multiple uses of the space, which is often used for prayer meetings, readings, group discussions and sewing clubs. The lighting design also had to deliver significant energy savings to the Victorian-era structure.

For many years the church had illuminated the space using cheap outdoor flood and spotlight luminaires, one of which was a B&Q type multi head dichroic fitting mounted to a piece of wood suspended against the wall.

Needless to say not only was this incredibly inefficient and a complete distraction from the architecture of the space, the lighting was imbalanced and resulted in distorted shadows which convoluted the symmetry of the masonry. Light4’s design approach was to rebalance the space with layers of symmetrical light, picking up the key architectural elements and historic features that defined the architectural character of the building and space.

Architecture practice Studio: Plan A had previously been commissioned to design a glazed intervention wall between the main church hall and chapel, providing some intimacy, thermal comfort control and an acoustic separation. The lighting design highlights the intervention by illuminating the monolithic pillars and vast stone arch that towers above the glazed entrance door.

Moving through into the prayer room the central window above the altar forms a key part of the overall lighting scheme. Fundamentally the window forms the point of symmetry from which the lighting design was developed. The principle was to highlight the window form creating the visual backdrop for the layered lighting approach. This helped to extenuate the height and grandeur of the space and ensure its symbolic nature was clearly defined.

Cool white LEDs were specified for the threshold entrance arch and central window arch as they reflected each other’s form and importance.
The central alter mural has been illuminated by a carefully integrated linear LED profile. The LEDs dramatically enhance the mural’s brightness and visibility, improving the colour contrast of the mural artwork and creating a warm glow from within the altar. Functional lighting is provided using adjustable LED spotlighting positioned at a high level.

Narrow beams are used to direct the light towards the altar, with additional fittings directing light into the centre of the space. To enhance the lit environment further and improve the functional light levels within the prayer room a pendant solution has been installed, providing an extra level of functional light as well as balanced feature lighting. Kundalini Dew LED pendants were selected due to their design and visually lightweight appearance.

The conceptual idea was created so that the pendants did not become too dominant and detract from the architecture and central window. Their positions were detailed so they would not obstruct the view of the external window from outside the prayer room, while the pendants added the extra layer of light that the client needed, providing a level of lighting control to facilitate a range of functional tasks including reading.

The new lighting design uses 319W when all the lights are on and with the selection of lighting scenes available this can fall to 220W, a saving of 54% in energy, combined with a considerable saving in maintenance due to the use of LED.

The new lighting creates a warm setting that is convivial to social interaction, without acting to diminish what is a reverent and solemn place.


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