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THE ST BOTOLPH BUILDING, LONDON
Tuesday 03 Apr 2012
St Botolph Building is a new build speculative office development in the City of London by Minerva plc, designed by Grimshaw. The lighting scope covers all the internal public areas: the reception, central lift core, outer stair cores and atrium.
The lighting design concept aims to facilitate movement throughout the building, beginning at the entrances and ending at the individual office receptions, whilst highlighting key elements to assist with way-finding and emphasising the dramatic and dynamic nature of the spaces and structures.
The journey begins at the revolving doors which are strongly highlighted by downlighting, with the subsequent spotlighting drawing attention to the reception desks. The wide, open reception area is prevented from appearing dull and uninviting by the use of a lit outer perimeter which counteracts any potential gloominess. In conjunction with the architect, a cladding system of fins was developed, which consisted of fully integrated lighting and a textured detail panel for the light to wash. 2,500 custom LED fittings and 8km of extrusion were used, forming not only the walls but also the balustrade system from light. Extreme efforts were made to integrate the light seamlessly and to achieve absolute visual consistency across the huge number of light fittings. The final result goes further than simply washing the walls; the entire reception area is clad in light.
At the central core, there was some concern that the huge structure would be imposing to stand in and would form a heavy presence in the atrium. To counteract this, glazed floors were added which were then uplit using a custom-designed integrated profile system. The result is a glowing, animated structure which has become the heart of the building.
Whilst warm white downlighting is provided throughout, with the exception of the cool white highlighting used in the reception, the next stage of the journey required a personal, human touch. The lift cars were therefore lit in contrasting warm tungsten light which is switched off when the cars are unoccupied. There was concern the lower ground floor lifts may be underused due to their positioning, so a lit vertical surface was also provided to the lower ground space in order to create a visual draw.
On exiting the lift outside the offices, the lift lobbies and bridges are underlit to be coherent with the rest of the lift core, whilst the atrium roof structure has been uplit to ensure that the space appears light and airy regardless of the office tenants' lighting.