ERCO Case Study: The fourth dimension of architecture, light brings life to Perth's St George's Cathedral

9th October 2023

September 2023 Case Study

Dating to 1888, Perth’s Anglican Cathedral is an eclectic celebration of architectural character and materials. Today St Georges Cathedral opens its doors to those of all faiths and is the physical and social centre of the Diocese of Perth. Upgrading the interior to LED lighting in 2022 required a comprehensive solution that provided the light called for by the different functions of the Cathedral interior along with flexibility, low glare and low energy consumption.

Richard Kelly's Language of Light

Sacral architecture is the perfect platform on which to put Richard Kelly’s layered light principles into practice. A backdrop of ambient lighting helps parishioners find their way and understand the space – you can see here that uplighting the columns gives general light as well as defining shape. Accent lighting draws attention to important icons, statues and places for worshipper focus – the altar, pulpit and nave, for example. Stained glass is itself a decorative or scenic element, and you can see above that timeless pendants are also in use above the congregation.

Unique challenges of lighting a sacral space

Sacral structures are often older; introducing new lighting calls for innovative solutions that can work with existing resources. In this case, no new cabling could be installed and the design needed to work with the existing switchboard and luminaire placement. Clever commissioning and the use of interchangeable optics meant the number of luminaires needed was reduced, leaving cabling spare for the installation of a DALI system to control scenes for different cathedral activities (from regular services to musical performances and live-streaming).

Luminaires and lessons

Four different ERCO luminaires were used in the St Georges lighting design: Gimbal, Stella, Parscan and Pollux. The team were able to meet the client’s strict lux requirements in different parts of the Cathedral, conceal track to prevent it diminishing architectural impact, and minimise the impact of glare.

Collaboration was a big factor in the success of this project; Steve Kenneally of ERCO Channel Partner Lighting Options Australia, expressed great pleasure in the way his team worked with representatives of the Diocese and electrical contractor Gunn Electrics. The choice of ERCO luminaires was driven by noted success on comparable sacral projects in Australia and overseas, confidence in their low energy consumption rates for economy, and above all, reliability as many of the installation locations are inaccessible and require telescopic EWP.

It is little wonder that this project was the worthy winner of ERCO Oceania’s 2022 Project of the Year. Kenneally attributes the exceptional result to “beautiful architecture, brought to life by the strategic use of ERCO luminaires and their precision optics”.

Anglican Diocese of Perth, WA
Representing Anglicans of the Christian faith in Perth, WA

Product used: ERCO
Gimbal, Stella, Parscan & Pollux

Gunn Electrics
Specialists in electrical, air conditioning and solar.

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