Battersea Power Station

The Battersea Power Station has been a major landmark of London’s skyline for nearly 90 years. It began production in 1935, and at its peak delivered one-fifth of London’s energy needs. In 1983, the power station was shut down and it then lay derelict for almost 30 years. Over the years, there were several initiatives to redevelop the site, but work only started in 2012 after the site was bought by is current owners. Today, it is one of the most exciting and innovative mixed-use neighbourhoods in the world, offering a unique blend of shops, bars and restaurants, leisure and entertainment venues, parks, and historical spaces.

Reaching a height of 101 m, the art deco building’s four massive chimneys have long dominated the London skyline. Unfortunately, due to corrosion, the original chimneys had to be demolished and completely rebuilt during the renovation. Using the original methods of hand-poured concrete, the chimneys were painstakingly rebuilt using over 680 tons of concrete which had to be hoisted to the top, transferred to wheelbarrows, and poured into the forms. In total, over 25,000 wheelbarrow loads of concrete were used and the construction took two years to complete.

Lighting the chimneys

To light the outside of the chimneys, Architainment worked with Lighting Designer Ewan Parsons from Spiers Major, and SGM Light UK. The chosen lighting solution was installed by TClarke and included 50 i·2 RGBW LED Wash Light luminaires from SGM installed in a ring around the 8.5 m diameter base of each chimney. These compact luminaires have a narrow 8-degree beam angle and high light output enabling them to evenly light the entire length of the 50 m-high chimneys.

Due to their high output power, the fixtures are typically only operated at about 30% of their maximum power, which will significantly extend their operating life. The narrow beam angle provides a near 2:1 beam/field ratio providing a perfect balance between blending light from multiple sources while also limiting spill to maintain dark skies. Glare shields were added to lessen the profile of the lighting, so the chimneys would be the centre of attention.

Textbook installation

The contract for lighting the chimneys was placed at the end of 2018 and the lights were installed in November 2019. Even though the lights are at the bottom of the chimneys, this is still 51 m above ground, so installing and commissioning the lights was not for those with a fear of heights. Despite this challenge, this was a textbook project with everything delivered on time and installed on schedule. The lights were then used to light the chimneys on several special occasions before the official opening of the building on October 2022.

Client: Battersea Power Station Development Company

Lighting Designers: Speirs Major

Lighting supplier: SGM Light UK

Integration Engineers: TClarke

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