In ‘ushed tones
Since 1896, when Andrew Usher made his historic gift of £100,00 to the City of Edinburgh to found a concert hall, the Usher Hall has become one of the city’s most iconic buildings. An attraction to visiting national and international orchestras, the venue has undergone a lighting transformation.
As part of a major overhaul, Black Light have designed and installed an innovative lighting scheme for the building’s dome. Usher Hall has been the subject of a multi-million pound redevelopment programme since 2000. The new lighting system was part of the final step of phase three of the programme.
City of Edinburgh Council via RJ Mcleod and LDN Architects required that all aspects of the scheme should be hidden from view when not in use. To meet their specification, Black Light used out of the box thinking and state-of-the-art technology to produce a solution that met the brief.
The scheme, which took one month to complete, comprised 14 Erco super-wide architectural light fittings with CDM250 colour referenced lamp to consultant specification, which were mounted on self-erecting masts. The masts were deployed using a pneumatic system similar to that used by American fire and rescue trucks. The project raised a serious of difficult challenges, which required extensive research and feasibility studies with key technology being sourced from the USA.
Black Light installed custom mountings on the roof as well as cable controlling, a weather monitoring station and other associated systems and interfaces. The overall operation of the scheme and interfacing featured a mosaic control system and a POE switch for data and control routing to masts.
The design and installation successfully met and exceeded all goals set by the client. The final system was fully autonomous and included built in emergency functions and manual override. The lights used very little roof space, no more than 0.5m by 1.8m and when positioned, rise to 5m above the roof level and create a stunning spectacle out of the high-level rooftop and copper dome.
In addition, Speirs + Major was approached to establish the architectural lighting, both indoors and out. This included creating a solution to lighting the contemporary spiral staircase linking the original building to the extension. The result was a futuristic chandelier of fluorescent tubes encased within double acrylic cylinders, which certainly has the wow factor.
Estimated at a value of £120,000 plus, the final scheme after careful testing was revealed to delighted client and project architect with great success. The lighting scheme has revitlised the building, working flawlessly and to great effect. Phil Haldane, part of company development at Black Light concluded: ‘All aspects of the project were delivered on time and within the agreed budget. The client, architect and consulting engineers were all delighted with finished result. More systems of similar design are currently in planning and feasibility stages.’
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