newsletter link
mondo arc

Pinehouse Studios Gatehouse, Buckinghamshire, England

Issue 46 Dec / Jan 20008/9 : Architectural : Façade


The new Gatehouse spans the entrance and exit roads to the world famous Pinewood studio complex. The two-storey building, designed by Burland TM architects, includes a reception area, security facilities and a marketing suite.

The brief was to create an energy efficient, visually interesting gateway that would symbolise the exciting new developments at Pinewood – these include a major redevelopment of the site with plans for offices, new stages and films sets.

When creating the form of the building, the architect used image boards of 1920s cinema and associated iconography. The shape of the gatehouse was inspired by the beam of light from a cinema projector, and the black and grey colouring was directly linked to black and white movies. Film was also used by Hoare Lea Lighting as a reference for the lighting design, with RGB (red, green, blue) components, the fundamental elements of colour film, used to create impact against the backdrop of dark materials.

The materials selected for the building were largely black and silver-grey. By using colour to illuminate these shades energy use has been reduced and a distinctive feature for the studio entrance created. A white light solution would have required more light and energy to achieve the illuminated impact against the dark materials and would have probably involved a more traditional metal halide, exterior floodlighting solution. The colour solution allowed the use of LED technology. Even with all exterior LED feature elements running at full output the total load is approximately 850W – this represents a considerable saving in energy use when compared with a more traditional white light approach.

It was important that the Pinewood sign was high in the visual hierarchy. This is illuminated with linear RGB LEDs which uplight the text. The treatment is simple, but very effective against the backdrop of the black architectural ribbon and the sky.

The silver underside of the canopy is washed with perimeter RGB LED spotlights. This creates the illusion of a floating surface; one which would otherwise disappear into the darkness of the sky.

Inground LEDs illuminate the columns at the front of the building and the rear of the reception area – this helps to root the structure and provide feature illumination on a human scale.

A lighting control system by LEAX was used. This allows for scene setting using the different external architectural elements. Hand held remote control units within the internal spaces enable users to change and manipulate the external presentation within a set number of scenes.

The lighting design redefines the structural form of the Gatehouse at night and enhances the architectural patterns that could otherwise have been lost against the backdrop of the night sky. The project demonstrates how, by working with dominant architectural and natural features, a simple but effective scheme can be devised. It shows how a considered lighting design can complement and enhance architecture, while providing excellent value for money. 

The success of the project was recognised during the opening of the new Studio entrance when Ivan Dunleavy, Chief Executive, of Pinewood Shepperton plc, commented: “Marking our confidence in the next 70 years of Pinewood and its place at the heart of the UK’s creative industries, this wonderful new entrance will welcome the stars and creators of some of the finest film and television the UK produces.”


Pinehouse Studios Gatehouse, Buckinghamshire Pinehouse Studios Gatehouse, Buckinghamshire
Related Articles


Follow us on…

Follow Mondo Arc Magazine on Twitter Follow Mondo Arc Magazine on Facebook Follow Mondo Arc Magazine on Linked In

mondo arc india

darc awards DWLF IALD PLDC LRO