From concept to reality
Dale’s main role in the construction of the NorthWest Shopping Centre was to design certain sections of the electrical installations, and also manage the building services lighting ideas during both the design and construction phases of the project. That in itself is no small task – the entire development cost upwards of NZ$155 million in total, and forms a big part of Auckland’s proposed NorthWest Transformation – a larger scheme that is thought to have cost near NZ$1 billion, with an overall goal of turning this corner of the city into a thriving hive of activity over the next decade.
Of course, designing and rigging up such a large-scale project with a quality architectural lighting system does not come without its challenges, and Dale was only too happy to lay out just what problems she faced. Firstly, the architects of the building had kindly provided 3D images of what the mall would look like when complete, and these also incorporated the proposed lighting concept.
The challenge was to take that initial concept blueprint, then produce a working drawing that would not only reproduce the visual aspect, but also ensure that illumination levels were adequate – not too bright, and not too dark. In the end, it was decided that LED lighting was the best way forward, and they used these kinds of fittings for the entire shopping centre.
The actual design of the building also threw up several challenges for Dale and the ECS team. For example, there are several areas in the centre where the ceiling rises from the ground floor shopping level right up to a high-level wooden ceiling, with the clerestory windows on either side. For the ceiling, linear extruded fittings were chosen, appearing in a random pattern along its length.
However, because the clerestory windows on the western side of the concourse allowed in ample amount of natural light, there was little need for artificial lighting during daylight hours. Hence, lighting in these particular areas needed to be automatically dimmed via the control system. However, it remained a challenge to ensure that uniform illumination was achieved outside daylight hours using this random layout.
It was necessary, therefore, for Russ Kern at ECS to spend a great deal of time both setting up the 3D model and running calculations to make sure that the desired result was achieved, and also to meet the design criteria.
The right lights
For the wooden ceilings, Dale opted for Austube 60 Greenstar LED Square aluminium extrusion. The body of the fittings are finished in black, meaning that they blend seamlessly when installed in between the dark slats. For the lower level plaster ceilings, Austube 50 Greenstar LED Recessed was chosen. In both of these areas, the lighting met the illumination targets laid out in the initial concept design.
It’s only fair to point out, though, that Aesthetics Lighting Solutions supplied the LED extrusions for this project, and that other fittings throughout the building were supplied by other companies. Even so, why not take a walk through the NorthWest Shopping Centre to check out the great example of a creative and innovative design?