Perth, 7th January 2011
Many major cities around the world have a long cultural history with many buildings classified as architectural heritage. Perth (and Western Australia in general) has buildings dating way back to the 1800’s, the time of the gold rush. Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie in the Goldfields, where I was earlier this week, was the “epicentre” of the gold rush with many historical buildings. Today I had a meeting with Heritage Perth, an organisation looking after and promoting Perth’s beautiful and precious heritage. Through events and discovery trails (I-Phone apps included!) people can enjoy “guided” tours through the city and get a great feel of the historic building architectures and places including descriptions of historic back ground stories and events relevant to it. Though mostly promoted as daytime trails and tours Perth’s climate also favours night time events and therefore lighting up of the buildings is one of the things the organisation is looking at in coordination and consultation with the key stakeholders.
Lighting up heritage buildings however requires thoughtful preparation and coordination with the City and the Property owners as the lighting is not necessarily a case of just adding some lights! Some of the buildings fabrics are heritage protected meaning that application of lights need to be in accordance to heritage regulations. Alternatively lights may have to be integrated in the City’s street and pedestrian lighting infra-structure. Additional provisions for the lighting installation need to be developed and connected to a lighting control system that allows separate interaction by the operator as well as with the public.
Night tours are inherently more magical than daylight tours as artificial lighting can add a touch of mystery and drama that is not necessarily available with natural daylight. Heritage lighting is therefore today’s subject for Light Watch. I was personally involved in the conceptual lighting design of Wesley Church one of the heritage buildings featured by Heritage Perth.