Facade lighting

Kuala Lumpur, 14th August 2012

Project meetings in KL today…I very much value the face to face meetings, certainly when I can work one on one with world renowned architects. Nothing beats a set of creative minds, knowing what you want (or better you don’t want) and some paper to sketch and architectural models to have a good understanding of the 3-dimensional relationships.

Today we spent a good part of our time trashing out a lighting concept for the façade of a tall building. Architects can be particular about the looks of their building certainly at night and we find, much to our delight, that conventional approaches are coming back in vogue. We don’t need multi-million dollar LED facades just because it is the in thing to do. And you know what… most of the time the whole energy/maintenance story doesn’t even hold either!

Light & Learn 3-17: When it comes to façade lighting, angle of incidence is critical. Façade lighting is generally a balanced combination between lighting the building as a landmark (viewable from a distance) and lighting of the building on arrival (at street level). The steeper the angle of incidence (light position close to the building) the lower the resulting horizontal lighting component, which is the important lighting vector for far away viewing. The downward component is however strong. You will note that (flood)lighting of high towers often results in a glow when viewed from far away and a strong light when viewed from the street nearby.

Selecting what to light (and what not) is another component of façade lighting. Floodlighting everything is possible but generally result in a dull and monotone lighting effect without depth and contrast. Striking a balance between lighting the structural elements (beams, columns, localised) and the other vertical surfaces (façade planes) is the challenge of each design. The sketch below visualises the options

14. August 2012 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: city beautification, Light & Learn, Light and inspiration, lighting design | Leave a comment

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