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.

Light Watch 5
:  Heritage Perth, Wesley Church at night

07. January 2011 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: city beautification, light watch, lighting and culture | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. Hi Martin,
    Perth has many fantastic Heritage buildings which lend themselves nicely to well thought out and designer lighting solutions.

    I agree that the lighting design should be approached as a complete ‘vision of light’ for the heritage buildings therefore creating a fluid and graceful experience for night time viewers. I have noticed that some previous examples of architectural or façade lighting have seemingly been approached as an individual design solution. The outcome has produced buildings that, at night time don’t quite fit in with the surrounding streetscape or the lighting not showcasing the building architecture.

    I especially like your point regarding integration of luminaires into the City’s street and pedestrian lighting infrastructure and as the lighting technology continues to develop this will be made easier and more cost effective as LED technology and low wattage discharge lamps will be smaller and more affordable.

    The Wesley Church is a great example of well integrated and detailed lighting design as well as a few other iconic Perth Churches and Cathedrals. Good luck.
    Jake Riding
    Lighting Designer

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