At 230m high, Heron Tower, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, is the tallest building in the City of London. To re-enforce its night time presence, a striking approach to its illumination was adopted by American lighting design practice Illuminating Concept. Traditionally, floodlighting such a building would have involved copious amounts of “HID” (High Intensity Discharge) projectors either located remotely from the building and aimed onto it, or located on the façade with unsightly fixing systems. These traditional methods consume high levels of energy, and also require regular maintenance schedules, something that is not an easy task when trying to access luminaires mounted to the exterior of a building hundreds of feet in the air.
New LED lighting technology allows us to change completely the way in which we design lighting schemes for modern architecture. Instead of lighting the building we can integrate the lighting into the façade therefore creating a completely different visual perspective of the building at night. This is the design philosophy undertaken for the external lighting on Heron Tower. The structure framing the glazing on the building façades creates a grid like pattern onto which individual point source blue LEDs were fixed, punctuating the meeting point of glazing and structure. Illuminating Concept decided to specify the application of 750 units of iGuzzini’s Glim Cube, surface mounted 1 watt fittings. Emitting a blue light, they serve to “crown” this 46 storey jewel within the heart of the city. Foreman Roberts and Skanska worked on how the driver and fixing brackets would integrate with the façade of the building, and how the luminaires would be installed. The visual impact is both dramatic and striking, giving Heron Tower its unique identity and appearance in the City Of London at night, but most importantly for the client, the scheme is almost maintenance free and consumes very little energy (less than 1 kw/h), in line with Heron Tower’s focus on sustainability (the building has a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent‘ and incorporates a number of green initiatives including an offset core that prevents solar heat gain and a veil of photovotaic cells on the southern façade).
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