Degrees of light

As a new build project, Ridi was able to join Swanke Hayden Connell Architects (SHCA) and consultant Buro Happold in the design process from the outset, ensuring that the lighting both brought about the optimum learning environment and contributed to a highly sustainable building. 

The main objective in specifying the lighting components was to match the modern architecture of the new building – with features such as its stunning central atrium – but also to make for the most relaxing study environment.  Naturally, with the number of computers in use within the Education Technology department, it was vital to minimise obstacles to concentration in the form of glare and reflection.


Versatile products


In terms of the different lighting requirements within the multi-use facility, Ridi’s broad range of versatile products and its ability to provide a number of luminaires particularly suited to the education sector resulted in Buro Happold specifying Ridi lighting throughout the majority of the building, as consultant, Hakeem Makanju explains: “With a wide choice of both suspended and recessed luminaires, versatile in their application, coupled with Ridi’s intelligent control systems, we were able to specify products that matched precisely the variety of educational and study requirements of this flagship university building. 


“The control element, specifically designed for The Open University project, also meant that we could meet the client’s need for lighting control flexibility and the architect’s desire to provide a contemporary building design with a highly sustainable rating.”


The effect created by Ridi is apparent as soon as you enter the building into the striking atrium.  A continuous waved strip, following the recessed contours of the central upper walkway, has been created by the use of a number of Ridi’s LF Opal luminaires.  A simple angular formed opal luminaire delivering a crisp and wide light distribution, the LF was set into the recesses in linear runs, accentuating the curves of the walkway feature.  Running alongside the strip of LFs, along each outer edge of the platform, is a line of Ridi’s latest recessed spotlight, the 20w compact metal halide Tango R – providing an eye-catching centrepiece to the public area. 


Mirroring the effect in the atrium and taking the continuous lighting run theme through the rest of the building, the corridors are lit by Ridi’s Venice light channels.  Available in clean-cut extruded aluminium and used either as a surface mounted or recessed luminaire, the modular Venice light channel is available in both continuous louvred or opal version which also has an option for overlapping lamps so that the effect of a continuous light can be achieved. 


With its high-reflect aluminium matt parabolic louvre providing an even, glare free spread of downlighting, Venice was also the choice in the all important study areas of the building, where the light channels were fitted with the optional dummy covers to create the effect of dark intersections along the run.


In the spotlight


Walking between study rooms, in the open upper floor areas of the building, you see the use of Tango spotlights in their surface mounted form – making an attractive feature of the columns throughout.  Tango is perfectly suited to public areas where decorative yet energy efficient lighting is required.  Primarily a track mounted luminaire and with a number of angle distributions taking light spread from a close range 12 degrees to a flood effect at 36 degrees, Tango is available in a variety of versions from the high intensity, low energy 12W LED through the miniature 20W Philips Metal halide and 20, 35 and 70W discharge versions.


Completing the comprehensive Open University installation, the meeting rooms are lit with several suspended runs of ALI T5 luminaires.  With a compact square section profile these provide precise optical control through a matt anodised louvre and achieve a 50/50 balance of uplighting and downlighting. 


Reflecting on the level of involvement with The Open University project, Mike Attard, Managing Director at Ridi UK, explains that the education sector is a key part of Ridi’s business: “We’ve concentrated a great deal of our research and development into creating highly versatile luminaires that are well suited to the demands of the education setting – from safety driven luminaires needed in the sports hall to products such as Venice that provides that perfect balance between even, glare free lighting and sharp aesthetic looks. 


“Our range has grown considerably over the last couple of years to include a number of education-led luminaires and the specification of a selection of these throughout the entire Jennie Lee project shows that Ridi now offers a complete range of products for an entire project.”


Complete control


Striking as the effects such as that in the atrium of the Jennie Lee Building may be, the aesthetics of a luminaire, its energy efficient qualities and even its levels of light spread and output are not the only considerations when specifying the lighting components within an educational building.  It’s vital to look beyond the surface and a key element of Ridi’s school lighting projects is its unique lighting control system.


Class Control is a system based on DALI protocol and provides a simple yet effective means of controlling classroom lighting.  At the touch of a button, teaching staff are able to alter the classroom environment, balancing the lighting level to match the task at hand.  


For maximum versatility, Class Control has been designed to incorporate a number of control components supplied by the leading commercial controls manufacturer, Helvar.  Its handheld IR remote, multi-sensors and wall-mounted double gang or LCD TouchPanels provide multiple switching arrangements and comfort switching for effective whiteboard illumination.  The controls can be combined with daylight detection, absence recognition and scheduled switching, not just to eliminate unnecessary energy use but, most importantly, to help create the optimum learning environment – from overall classroom illumination to providing a concentrated, glare-free spot focused on the whiteboard. 


Simple both to use and install and with no networking requirement, Class Control is designed to increase pupil comfort, reduce fatigue and, therefore, increase the learning capacity.

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