Lighting arts and culture destinations can be fraught with challenges at the best of times, let alone when working within the constraints of Grade I and II listed buildings. Working with Buro Happold, Bennetts Associates, and MJL Electrical Contractors, Zumtobel and its sister brand Thorn, both lighting brands of the Zumtobel Group have designed a sympathetic, energy efficient, easily adjustable, and controllable lighting system for London’s latest cultural hot spot.
Woolwich Creative District Trust is an independent registered charity established to run Woolwich Works to advance art for the public benefit and provide facilities to improve the conditions of life of residents in London’s Royal Borough of Greenwich.
Woolwich Works was founded on the power of the arts and culture to transform lives: to inspire people to imagine, create and innovate; to build confidence, enable communication and drive collaboration; to empower and make a change and to create jobs and act as a catalyst for economic regeneration.
Its mission is to offer hope and opportunity by enabling people to realise their creative potential.
A new cultural destination is born
The Royal Borough of Greenwich has upheld its commitment to the arts with a multi-million-pound investment in transforming five historic military buildings in the landmark Woolwich Arsenal into a new cultural destination in London – Woolwich Works.
The predominantly unused Grade I and II* listed buildings have been converted to a 16,500-square-metre creative hub for multiple cultural occupiers, giving access to an array of culture: music, theatre, dance, spoken word, comedy, and exhibitions.
It will also become the new home of performing arts company Punchdrunk, orchestra Chineke!, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Greenwich-based dance company Protein, and the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair.
Fireworks Factory is the centrepiece of the project. It accommodates a 932 -seat performance space, external courtyard, and three smaller wings with five studios. A café, bar, and river-facing events space is also available for hire.
Bennetts Associates has carefully restored the Grade ll*-listed Building 40 to provide dance studios and associated support space.
Collaboration conquers challenges
The goal was to achieve a sympathetic redevelopment of the heritage buildings, which would increase the reach and sustainability of local cultural organisations.
To help achieve the project goals, the building services solutions, including the lighting, needed to be sympathetic to the existing buildings, utilising energy-efficient, easily adjustable, and controllable systems.
Working with Buro Happold, Bennetts Associates, and MJL electrical contractors, Zumtobel and its sister brand Thorn, both lighting brands of the Zumtobel Group have provided a complete lighting solution.
Tony Smith Key Account Manager at Zumtobel Group, comments, “Buro Happold chose us to be their lighting partner on the project as they wanted someone with a broad product range and a company, they knew they could work closely with to meet the challenge. It was a complex job, and there were many changes along the way – mainly architecture led, due to the complexity of the building. We had a close working relationship with MJL (electrical contractor), which helped us overcome each challenge. Our broad product range helped us find the right fittings for each location and provide the correct controls strategy and central battery for the project.”
Sympathetic, energy efficient, easy to control
Building 40 and 41 have been designed using Zumtobel and Thorn Lighting’s luminaires and control systems.
Key products in Building 41 include the established Zumtobel, SLOTLIGHT infinity continuous light line in the gallery, rehearsal, and function areas, and TECTON continuous row system in the main performance spaces. ONICO P, PANOS infinity, CAELA, SUPERSYSTEM II, CLEAN classic, and Thorn Glacier II complete the building’s general and task lighting.
TECTON provides a versatile solution as well as standard track-mounted fittings throughout. At the same time, the SLOTLIGHT infinity was the ideal luminaire for overcoming the irregular-shaped spaces or where services were causing an obstruction. It offers precision optics and uniform illumination, even around corners with no dark spots.
The emergency lighting is supplied by RESCLITE PRO, and Zumtobel’s LITENET Lighting Management System fully controls all the luminaires.
The ONLITE central battery supports the emergency luminaires. The ONLITE central battery installation is a modular system and adjusts to any specific project and exactly meets the customer’s requirements. The system communicates via DALI, which means that each DALI luminaire can individually monitored and controlled. The central battery provides numerous benefits for the facilities management team, minimum maintenance effort, fail-safe data communication with no need for additional communication modules in the luminaires.
On the other hand, Building 40 exploited the Thorn product range. Novaline wall luminaires were used for the stairway lighting, Chalice for the bathrooms, Voyager Exit Blades for the exit signage, and the industrial weatherproof applications were met by ForceLED and Aquaforce Pro.
Woolwich Works has since been awarded Silver at the London Design Award 2021 and named as ‘Best New Culture Spot in London’ by Time Out in their Best of the City Awards 2021.
Pippa Hack, Director of Regeneration, Enterprise & Skills for the Royal Borough of Greenwich said: “Woolwich Works is at the heart of our growing cultural scene, attracting audiences from all over London and beyond. The lighting plays such an important part in creating the right atmosphere for all the different events, showing off the architecture of these stunning buildings. We’re very pleased that the team has been able to deliver high quality results and most importantly to do it using energy efficient technology.”
Location: Woolwich Works, London.
Project team: Royal Borough of Greenwich, Buro Happold, Bennetts Associates, MJL Electrical Contractors.
Photograph accreditation: Redshift Photography.