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The Commonwealth Park, Gibraltar

Issue 81 October / November 2014 : Architectural : Park


David Atkinson Lighting Design has delivered a contemporary scheme for the new Commonwealth Park on Gibraltar, blending traditional British values with Mediterranean style.

The Commonwealth Park in Gibraltar is a former car park site that has been transformed into a sustainable park, boasting both traditional British values and a ‘cutting edge’ Mediterranean style. The park has 135 different trees, as well as lakes, grass mounds and decking areas, with the dramatic historic backdrop of the King’s Bastion and City walls.

David Atkinson Lighting Design (DALD) worked closely alongside the landscape architects, Landform, to create an exciting but subtle lighting scheme for the park, as well as adhering to conservation requirements, security, energy efficiency and sustainability.

The historic perimeter walls consist of the curved King’s Bastion Wall and City Wall. The curved King’s Bastion Wall to the north end of the site is up lit by a series of buried fixtures fitted with a tiltable medium and narrow beam optic, which helps to accentuate the contours of the stone and form. A 4000K LED light source was chosen to enhance the colour of the grey stone.

The angular City Wall linking with the curved King’s Bastion wall to the north, east and south elevations are lit by a series of surface mounted, high output, narrow optic spots, which graze the wall with shafts of light. The LED spots are positioned directly below the city wall and aligned with the wall piers.

The upper terrace above the City Wall is linked to the park via a listed link tunnel, contemporary staircase and lift. To limit any visual impact within the tunnel two internally illuminated handrails provide sufficient light to the floor. The illuminated handrails continue from the tunnel to the external staircase that encompasses the lift shaft.
To help give the lift shaft a dynamic appearance, a series of RGBW LED sources up light the internal glass shaft with preprogrammed hues of colour.

The park has a perimeter roadway/walkway, which is illuminated by compact LED fixtures fitted with 3000K sources, which are mounted off 3.5m vertical columns. Some of the vertical columns increase in height to  5.5m in order to accommodate high output LED accent fixtures that illuminate sculptural pieces. A link walkway from the west side of the park is illuminated by semi recessed marker lights, which helps to set up an interesting view into the park.

As a part of the intrinsic landscape design internal tertiary paths weave through the park. Illumination of the tertiary paths are by minimalistic tubular bollards fitted with T5 lamps, with a colour temperature of 4000K. Each bollard is offset along the length of the path which helps define the flowing landscape design.

To the north and south of the park there are decking areas that incorporate adjustable recessed LED fixtures. The fixtures up light Magnolia grandiflora shrubs from one side and are fitted with warm white LED (3000K), which help to offset the shrubs against the city wall.
Throughout the park, seating benches are under lit by recessed LED strips, which project a soft diffused glow under the benches.

The central area within the park consists of perimeter planting, benches and monolithic water feature columns. Each monolithic column is fitted with a recessed custom IP68 LED ring that accentuate the water flow by piping the water through the centre of each fixture. In addition to the integral lighting, recessed IP68 fixtures up light each monolithic column. Positioned within the catchment pool, they reflect and refract light across the column faces.

An artificial lake is subtly illuminated by submerged IP68 fixtures, which pick out rock and water features. A link bridge across the lake is lit by miniature recessed decking lights, which help to accentuate the form of the bridge.

A contemporary bandstand is built out into the lake and features a tensile roof, which is up lit by RGBW LED sources and programmed in with the lift shaft to reflect dynamic hues of colour across the bandstand and lake.

Large expanses of grass are lit by projecting dappled light, which effectively mimics the effect of moonlight through the trees. The dappled effect is created by a series of metal halide projectors attached to the top of the perimeter lighting columns.

The general lighting to planting, shrubs and trees was achieved by a variety of lighting methods. DALD chose a limited number of sources in picking out key areas within the park, with the planting subtly modelled by single point sources. Large trees and shrubs were either up lit by buried LED sources or externally lit from a distance by ground spike mounted projector fittings positioned within the planting. A warm 3000K colour temperature was chosen to enhance the greenery and off set the planting and trees from the coolness of the King’s Bastion and City Wall.

Control of the lighting within the park is triggered via photocells that in turn activate lighting scenes from the control system. A basic lighting state with limited sources is activated at midnight for access and security.

Through the combination of creative lighting methods it enables the park to become an exciting, dynamic and safe space after dusk.


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