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St. Pancras International, High Speed 1 Terminal, London, England

Issue 41 Feb / Mar 2008 : Architectural : Transport

Lighting Design: SILL LIGHTING

Bob Bohanon, General Manager of Sill Lighting UK, recounts the teamwork in arriving at a harmonious and energy-effecient lighting scheme for the renovated St. Pancras International, the new terminal for High Speed 1

Ten years ago, St Pancras was grubby, dingy, run down and had just survived demolition. Its conversion to St Pancras International reveals again the true majesty of George Barlow’s 689ft long, 243ft wide and 118ft high Train Shed – a cathedral to the railways and at its time the largest single span structure in the world.
The client’s and architect’s objective was a destination station, somewhere where people go even if they don’t have a train to catch - the station has hugely complex roles.
The brief was ‘not just another railway station’ but rather ‘Europe’s Destination Station’ with champagne bars, farmers market, boutiques and shops, plus the technical, security, heritage and functional requirements of lighting for the Eurostar customers at an international border crossing.
The objective of a ‘no reflections - no shadows’ lighting scheme using multiple discrete sources (ensuring the scheme remains cohesive even when some lamps are out) ensured the wow factor of a bright, crisp scheme that enhances the length, scale and rhythm of the building – with the luminaires rarely being obvious or impeding the view of the building.
The lighting design solution to the platform and concourse areas whilst now beautifully resolved and apparently simple, belies a seven year design process. Illuminance, uniformity and glare had to meet strict Network Rail (formerly Railtrack) design standards. This was assisted by Sill’s production of special reflectors and antiglare louvres to the main concourse downlights and an elegant catenary supporting Cooper’s direct / asymmetric indirect lighting system to the platforms. The platforms are not central to the shed, thus the uplights are asymmetric to evenly and gently wash the roof, whilst the location and scale of the system does not impede the view upwards.
In all, there are some 200 metal halide Sill 022 projectors performing this, of which 75% are 400W, and 25% 250W, all arranged at different heights across the span of the glazed gothic roof structure. There are also over 200 Sill 455 asymmetric projectors washing light down the brick arches of the flank walls and picking out the highly decorative frieze at the top of each arch.
English Heritage conditions stipulated pure architectural forms and clarity in the modern interventions between the English Heritage Barlow Blue painted structure and stunning renovated red brickwork. Similarly strict conditions were placed on concealment of cabling and infrastructure.
The problems of installing and subsequently maintaining at 30m above the trains and between the 25kV catenary, exacerbated by the requirement not to re-commission the old unreliable maintenance gantry led to the special development of an existing thermally reliable Sill fitting to accept integral gear. These projectors were then mounted in clusters accessible by cherry picker.
Environmentally the Barlow Shed scheme betters its objective of 15 W/m2 by achieving 11.96 W/m2, good when considering the significant architectural component to light walls and roof – essential to the making of an inviting space to encourage people out of their cars and off planes.
Under the train deck, an 18ft high space, formerly a storage space for Burton Beer, now houses the entrance, exit and circulation zones (with special Designplan luminaires) departure lounges, customs, security, immigration and border control zones – all with attendant functional and aesthetic requirements.
One of the key achievements was the teamwork - Emcor Rail, far from desiring to cheapen the scheme prior to tendering, actually sought to improve and build on the scheme. The building is a powerful but friendly place, with a combination of high technology and industrial heritage – that spirit was captured in the last three fittings that went into the roof – with tiny nameplates inside remembering those who worked on it.
Further down the line, Sill has also provided the lighting schemes for Stratford International and Ebbsfleet stations, the intermediate stations on High Speed 1. The two stations are very similar in layout and design with covered platforms, canopies and open sections. The scheme involves 150W metal halide Sill 453 series projectors mounted on columns in the open section, and mounted high on the station columns for the covered area. For the canopies there are 70W versions of the same projector mounted at a lower height of 2.5 metres on the steelwork of the canopy itself. In all there are over 300 projectors used for each station, all having built-in 40W tungsten halogen emergency lamps.


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