Enhancing the student experience at the University of Leicester’s Percy Gee Building

The Zumtobel Group’s lighting brands Zumtobel and Thorn have supplied an energy efficient lighting solution for the redevelopment of the University of Leicester’s award-winning Percy Gee Building. The result is a perfect space to meet, work and relax.

The University of Leicester is committed to offering an enhanced student experience. The recent regeneration of its Percy Gee Building, located at the heart of its campus, has created multi-use areas all in one space. Additionally, a four-storey expansion features a dedicated informatics lab, a high-tech media centre, and a performance studio.

Initially designed by T Shirley Worthington as the central hub, over 60 years later, the Percy Gee Building now houses a new spacious food court, the Student Services Centre, and is home to the Student Union.

The main challenge was introducing an energy-efficient LED scheme with a lighting control system to meet the architect’s original concept to a tight deadline and within budget.

Working from the lead architect’s Shepheard Epstein Hunter’s lighting and conceptual design, the Group worked with White Young Green Consulting to develop a scheme that would create an excellent space to meet, work and relax.

A scheme of award-winning products

Various energy efficient Zumtobel and Thorn luminaires were selected for the workspaces and circulation areas. Including Zumtobel’s PANOS infinity, PANOS evo, TECTON, SLOTLIGHT infinity, VAERO, ECOOS, NIGHTSIGHT, ONDARIA, SCONFINE, COMSIGN and Thorn’s Omega LED, Chalice Pro, Chalice, and IQ Wave Suspended.

The award-winning PANOS LED downlight series is ideal for the functional and architectural lighting tasks for education settings, delivering unrivalled lighting quality and energy efficiency. Similarly, the Thorn IQ Wave is an award-winning luminaire defined by simple and flowing lines that helps to create a modern but simplistic aesthetic. Its innovative MV tech optic offers excellent uniformity and glare control, direct/indirect light for illuminance on faces and walls to encourage a comfortable, communicative working environment.

Emergency lighting is provided by Zumtobel’s RESCLITE PRO. With its innovative optics, this small powerhouse meets all the requirements of emergency lighting, combining minimalist design with the highest technical standards.

The basement houses the kitchens and dance studios where a mixed scheme of Zumtobel’s VAERO and ECOOS and Thorn’s Duoproof and ForceLED are used, respectively.

The building’s WOW factor comes in the shape of the new eastern facade of the four-storey extension which fronts directly onto the recently completed Fielding Johnson Square.

The façade gives a light and spacious feeling to all four floors, however the new glass curtain wall of the building’s main elevation presented a further challenge which was overcome in collaboration with the Group’s custom product department. The glass structure limited the mounting options for the façade lighting. A modified selection of Zumtobel’s colour changing luminaires were used to complete the stunning wow factor which greets visitors when approaching the site.

A chance to further exploit energy savings

To further enhance energy conservation, the complete lighting solution, including the Self-Test emergency luminaire monitoring and colour changing of the exterior scheme, is controlled via Zumtobel’s LITECOM.

LITECOM is an easy to commission, app-based next-generation lighting management system for the entire building, achieving energy savings of up to 82%.

Paul Bussoopun, Key Account Manager – Central Specification, Zumtobel Group, explains, “This was a project with a long install programme extended longer by the Covid pandemic.  We first engaged with Highcross the electrical contractor in April 2018.  The project involved the modernising of an existing building and took several project management hours to ensure the design that was developed on paper with the consultant, would work on site. We were faced with several co-ordination challenges, existing concrete ceilings, lack of ceiling voids, changes of ceiling heights all due to the constraints of working on a 60yr old building. We worked closely with the design team to ensure any design changes were made promptly so the lighting design and order could be amended in time to meet the delivery programme.”

Location: Percy Gee Building, The University of Leicester.

Project team: Shepheard Epstein Hunter London, WYG, Stepnell Construction, Highcross Building Services.

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