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MIMA, Middlesbrough, England

Issue 38 Aug/Sep 2007 Architectural : Museum


Mima is the first building in the UK by Erick van Egeraat Architects (EEA), whose works include the ING Head office in Budapest, the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Warsaw, the City hall in Alphen, aan den Rijn In holland University, Rotterdam as well as works in Russia, Germany and Italy. The scheme includes a spacious foyer and a new 5-acre public square between the gallery and Middlesbrough Town Hall, created by landscape designers West 8. Both feature spectacular lighting solutions from se’lux.

The design of MIMA presents an ideas and architectural approach to the master plan of a central site, including the location of the gallery and its relationship to the proposed square and other existing civic buildings.
The project is defined by a single public open space, clearly identifiable with distinct areas, that encourages active use, strengthens connections with the surrounding streets and supports pedestrian movement throughout the town centre.
The building itself is separated into two distinct building parts reflecting the public and support functions inside, with the exhibition space overlapping the two and the public foyer linking them together. The form and materials of the building express the duality of the concept, while respecting the scale and material of the surrounding buildings.
The public spaces directly face the square with the education and entertainment areas taking advantage of the views. The public side of the building, including main entrance to foyer, café and shop is spacious, open and inviting and enables easy access to the gallery.
The decisive space of the gallery is a foyer with a height of more than 16 metres revealing a central staircase, which is framed by a suspended stone curtain. The foyer with its transparent façade forms a transition space, linking gallery and public square and stimulating interaction between the two. It makes the building literally and psychologically accessible to everyone, whether they are interested primarily in the art - or visiting the coffee shop or education spaces.
The main challenges for the lighting design centered on the strong features of the foyer - the white limestone wall that comes into the building on both internal and external faces, and the core staircase that connects all the spaces of the gallery. The extensive use of glass means ambient light varies throughout the day, and the lighting is also required to both light the stone and the space itself.
To meet these challenges, the Hollow Light Guide Pendant from Se’lux Lighting was specified by EEA, and has emerged as a significant part of the architecture, creating a real presence and very much more than just a luminaire. Its elegant and sculptural form from which light escapes sideways to light the upper stone allows the high space to be filled in a manner sympathetic to the aesthetics of the building without detracting from the architecture or appearing over engineered.
The Hollow Light Guide Pendants, which are powered from a central EUTRAC busbar, have been used together in a cluster, deployed at rando m heights using different lengths of both rods and PMMA acrylic tubes. Narrow beam CDM-R Par30 lamps are installed towards the apex of each tube so that the lamp lights down the tube evenly delivering uniform illumination and good light levels, and also creates pools of light on the gallery floor below. The use of such a tight beam means illumination is achieved with a relatively low 35 watts, and integral gear ensures maintenance is easy. Both the lamp and gear are fixed to the rod, so the shade and body both twist off to drop down for maintenance, when they are secured with a safety chain.
West 8 specified the external lighting for the scheme and collaborated in the design of the fittings - Brugge - part of the Se’lux exterior range offered by Woodhouse. The central idea was to deliver a sense of scale of the space by illuminating the whole grass area of the square using a minimal total of 8 fittings. This specification was met by the use of 20 metre poles each mounting 6 lanterns at different heights on the pole.
West 8 also specified and collaborated on the design of the Peak fittings, part of the Se’lux range available from Woodhouse, which are located on a smaller sunken grass square in front of the gallery. These simple contemporary fittings resemble the head of a match, a conical steel pole leading the eye line to a glowing light at the top.
The IP65 rated luminaire with an overall height of just below 6 metres is available in 70 watt and 150 watt with either metal halide or sodium light sources. It is also available with specular louvres and refractor systems.



West 8 specified Se’lux Brugge and Peak exterior fittings, supplied by Woodhouse, delivering a sense of scale to the space by illuminating the whole grass area of the square

  • MIMA

    Hollow Light Guide Pendants by Se’lux were specified in the 16m high foyer to act as a signicant piece of the architecture

  • MIMA
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