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Windrush Square, London & Tudor Square, Sheffield, UK

Issue 60 Apr / May 2011 : Architecture : Urban

Lighting Design: DPA

Two urban spaces required different approaches by dpa lighting consultants - one, an uninviting, little used square that needed to feel safe at night; the other, an already established area that needed the flexibility to accomodate a multitude of events.

dpa’s mantra of “Right Light, Right Place, Right Time” was particularly appropriate when designing the lighting for two public squares in different parts of the UK. The approaches needed to be quite different in order to give the client what they wanted.

Windrush Square is a major new public space located in the centre of Brixton. The new square replaces two smaller ones, the Tate Gardens and the original Windrush Square, which were previously located on the site and divided by a road running between them. The original spaces were enclosed, uninviting and little used, especially during the nocturnal hours.

GROSS. MAX’s new design for Windrush Square opened up the space by removing barriers to pedestrian movement and removing the dividing road. The lighting design helps to encourage visitors both day and night to the square resulting in a welcoming space to sit and stop. The square has a vibrant events calendar, and provides a high-quality setting for the Ritzy Cinema, Tate Library and the forthcoming National Black Heritage Centre. Although the area was a recognisable place before, the refurbishment of the area has resulted in Windrush Square becoming an identifiable legible landmark and destination creating the most significant public space in the centre of Brixton.

In contrast Tudor Square was already a recognisable area within Sheffield, being home to a number of theatres, including the Crucible and Lyceum, along with the City’s Central Library, a gallery and the Winter Garden.

Tudor Square was remodelled as part of the City Centre’s Masterplan, creating a major public space to stop and have lunch, or meet in the evening for dinner before or after the theatre. The design had to be flexible to accommodate various different events and outdoor performances, to this end a complex lighting control scheme was designed to allow a large degree of flexibility in the control, even allowing individual column mounted lighting to be turned off to suit the events taking place. The different façade lighting schemes within the space provide a backdrop to the events within the square and also encourage progression into the space from the surrounding areas, further reinforcing Tudor Square as a landmark within the city.

Located in the south London district of Brixton, Windrush Square forms part of the Mayor of London’s manifesto ‘London’s Great Outdoors’, the core principal of which is to “create a much nicer, brighter and enjoyable city to live, work and play in”. The new Windrush Square joins the existing Tate Gardens and Windrush Square as a complete pedestrianised open space, providing a focal point for the town centre and a venue for community events.

dpa was appointed by GROSS. MAX, the landscape architect for the project, with the lighting concept commencing in December 2006 once the architectural design had been completed. With detail design beginning in October 2007, the site phase commenced in May 2009 with completion on 27th February 2010. The principal aim of the lighting design for Windrush Square was to encourage the recreational use of the space after dark. The lighting was designed to promote a sense of security, safety and engender a welcoming feeling for persons arriving, passing through and leaving Windrush Square during the nocturnal hours.

The scheme evolved around the proven principle that safety is more about the elimination of any perceived danger, achieved by illuminating boundaries, exits and changes of level, rather than floodlighting the space.

In order to maximise the flexibility of the central open space within the park for events, no lighting columns could be located here. Whilst the central area is not highly illuminated, pedestrian movement is silhouetted by the illuminated perimeter of the space. To counteract this, the area of the park adjacent to Effra Road is illuminated from a number of indirect, human scale columns utilising ceramic metal halide lamps. In addition, columns with multiple luminaires are positioned at the Eastern and Southern borders of the park providing illumination to the pathways through the grassed area and the Eastern area of the park. The area directly beneath and surrounding the London Plane Tree is illuminated from a number of luminaires mounted within the tree itself, effectively utilising the existing mature tree as an alternative to freestanding columns. Luminaires within the tree are fitted with a leaf break-up foliage gobo giving a distinctive “moon lighting” effect, providing additional visual interest.

The uplighting of the trees adjacent to Saltoun Road provides a visual backdrop to the park, reinforcing the feeling of safety by eliminating a potential area of “darkness”. The illumination of the Tate Library façade also provides a visual backdrop to the park. It was not permitted to fix any luminaires directly to the façade, therefore a close offset floodlighting scheme was developed utilising both narrow beam and asymmetric beam luminaires. To define the changes in level of the steps surrounding the London plane tree, a special side emitting fibre optic housed in a curved u-channel was developed with Universal Fibre Optics to follow the line of the steps.

The majority of lamps specified were ceramic metal halide and fluorescent lamps with a warm white colour appearance (3000K) and good colour rendering properties (Ra>80). The white light contrasts with the surrounding areas that are predominantly lit with sodium light sources, visually highlighting the presence of the square.

Lighting controls were used to automatically switch the lighting via a solar time clock, allowing different lighting elements to be switched depending on time of day. It can also select specific lighting scenes for events taking place in the square and provide energy savings by switching off decorative elements of the scheme when not required late at night, whilst still allowing the lighting for safety and security to remain operational.

Tudor Square is a pedestrian area located in the centre of Sheffield bordered by the famous Crucible Theatre, Lyceum Theatre, Central Library, Millennium Winter Garden and commercial properties. The architectural style of the surrounding buildings varies considerably. The square hosts a number of events throughout the year such as “Fright Night” and many celebrations associated with the World Snooker Championships held at the Crucible.

The Crucible Theatre underwent a refurbishment during the remodelling of Tudor Square. Although the lighting design of the theatre was not carried out by dpa (who was appointed on the project by Sheffield City Council following a successful interview), consideration was given to the scheme in order to integrate it with the lighting design for Tudor Square.
The architectural concept for the remodelling of Tudor Square was related to the idea of water rolling down the hill from the Winter Garden to the Crucible Theatre. Artificial mister units were included to simulate the idea of mist rolling off the water. “Pebble” planter beds are located to either side of the square in the same way you may find pebbles on the edges of water bodies.

The lighting design concept of reinforcing the idea of water began in May 2008 with detail design commencing a couple of months later. The site phase began in June 2009 and the project was completed in October 2010.

Approximately 250 NJO colour changing inground LED luminaires were utilised to simulate the reflection of stars in water, tying in with the interior of the Crucible Theatre’s famed star ceiling. Some of the inground LED luminaires are located adjacent to pebbles, mimicking water lapping at their edges.

Façade lighting designs were also developed for the surrounding buildings to create a suitable backdrop to the square, reinforcing distant views and encouraging progression into the space. Careful consideration had to be given in locating luminaires, cabling and control equipment for the illumination of the grade listed Central Library and Lyceum Theatre. Luminaire mounting locations for the illumination of the Winter Garden’s front arch were restricted. In depth calculations were performed to identify required luminaire beam angles, lenses and mounting locations to illuminate the front face of the arch as evenly as possible using Sill 021 projectors.

The central space in Tudor Square had to be kept clear for events and the access of articulated lorries. This posed many technical problems including the location and selection of appropriate luminaires and columns to achieve the client’s request for a CE2 road lighting classification; and specification of inground luminaires capable of withstanding drive-over forces of an articulated lorry.

To ensure full flexibility of the space for events, the client desired a high level of control over the individual streetlights, groups of lighting and building facades. Therefore a fully programmable architectural lighting control scheme was installed with the following features. The Lyceum and Central Library Buildings have their own lighting control systems. To allow all square and building lighting to be controlled from a central location, the building’s individual façade lighting control systems communicate with the central lighting control system via the Council’s existing ethernet infrastructure, reducing the number of control cables, associated trenching and installation costs involved. The lighting controls fully interface with the mister units, negating the need for additional control equipment.

The controls operate via a solar time clock. If required, specific lighting scenes can be selected either from the control equipment on site or from any PC (with appropriate software and security login) connected to the Council’s ethernet.

Project Details
Windrush Square, Brixton, London
Client: London Borough of Lambeth and Transport For London
Landscape Architect: GROSS MAX
M&E Engineer/Project Manager: Atkins
Lighting design: dpa lighting consultants

Tudor Square, Sheffield
Client, Landscape Architect, M&E Engineer, Project Manager: Sheffield City Council
Crucible Theatre Architect: Burrell Foley Fischer - not part of dpa scheme but the design integrated
Lighting design: dpa lighting consultants
All pics by dpa lighting design unless otherwise stated

Lighting Specified
Windrush Square, Brixton, London
Lighting Controls - iLight Controls (Cooper Controls)
Tree mounted exterior gobo projectors - Enliten
Fibre optics integrated within step detail - Universal Fibre Optics
Lighting Columns - SeeSaw Design
Projector luminaires lighting square - iGuzzini
Inground uplighters - Targetti Poulsen
Inground linear LEDs and indirect columns - Hess
Tate Library Flood Lighting - Meyer via Commercial Lighting
LED sparkle in Windrush sculptures - Planet Lighting via Wila

Tudor Square, Sheffield

Lighting Controls - iLight Controls (Cooper Controls)
Lyceum Theatre Facade - WE-EF, Meyer (via Commercial Lighting), ACDC, Sill, DesignPlan, KKDC, Anolis, Sugg
Library Facade - Crescent, Anolis, ACDC, WE-EF, Meyer (via Commercial Lighting)
Winter garden arch - Sill
Winter Garden additional planter lighting to interior spaces - iGuzzini
Cafes, Bars and Commercial buildings (West) Facade - Bega (via Zumtobel), Crescent, Anolis
Inground LED “stars” - NJO LED
Street Lighting and columns - iGuzzini
Inground uplights - WE-EF


Tudor Square

  • Tudor Square

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  • Windrush Square

  • Windrush Square

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  • Windrush Square

  • Windrush Square

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