A sympathetic restoration

  • Project: St Patrick's Basilica heritage lighting upgrade
  • Location: Dunedin
  • Date: October, 2018
  • Services: Project Service & Supply, Lighting Design
  • Application: Community buildings, Exterior
A sympathetic restoration

Since its opening in 1894 St Patrick’s Basilica in Dunedin has been a place of worship and a focal point for the local community.

When the time came for refurbishment a sensitive lighting design was vital to the project’s success.

The brief was simple: enhance illumination, connect and engage the church community, and create an impressive presence at night.

“The Parish Community are thrilled with the way the Basilica has been redeveloped and we are grateful to everyone who was involved in its renovation.”
Father Gerard Aynsley, Mercy Parish
St Patricks 2
The lighting design for the Basilica had to be sympathetic to the age of the building, where possible using existing mounting locations because of restrictions on cable locations, mounting heights and loadings. This was a limiting factor especially in lighting the exterior façade.

Balancing the technical lighting needs with the client’s wish list, a series of night trials was carried out with different luminaires to make sure the lighting choices would enhance the architectural detail. At the same time the lighting had to be subtle but still meet lighting standards for visual comfort and safe movement.

The Basilica’s greatest feature is the deeply embossed High Renaissance ceiling. This has been lit using upward light from Meyer’s Eco Line LED wall washer. The result is an impressive sense of space and serenity. Using indirect light in the interior also eliminates glare, giving the congregation attractive lighting for socialising and worship.

For the exterior of the building, Meyer Arclux arch lighters were used to enhance the stained glass windows, giving them a glowing appearance. The soft highlighting of the arches brings out the texture and depth of the facade.

The client wanted a modern lighting system in their century-old building, but with no budget for a lighting control system they worked with the consultants to come up with a simple switching design. This allowed the church to adjust the lighting scene to suit different parts of the service or for special occasions or programmes.

Following the completion of the project the client was delighted with the outcome. The result is a spectacular installation both day and night.
St Pats 4
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