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A stadium of light

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TECHNICAL & PRACTICE:The Forum by Michael Hopkins & Partners uses a variety of lighting according to the needs of users and use of the building

A £64 million millennium project has just been completed in the centre of Norwich. The Forum, by Michael Hopkins & Partners and funded by the Millennium Commission and Norfolk County Council, is described as a 'cultural and recreational building for the whole community'.

The 20,000m 2horseshoe-shaped structure contains the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library - the original was destroyed by fire in 1994 and its rebuilding was the reason for the Forum project in the first place - the Norfolk Heritage Museum, USA Air Force Memorial Library, outreach projects, local BBC operations centre and a range of commercial and retail franchises.

Sir Michael Hopkins described the brief as 'exacting and complex with a number of unusual interactions between people, space and the wonderful buildings around the site'.

The main feature of the project is the impressive glass facade, which looks out onto the town's market area.

The use of natural lighting was a key feature for the architects.Mike Taylor, project director for MHP said: 'The challenge was balancing the naturallylit public atrium with the occupied accommodation in the horseshoe, which has more traditional fenestration. With Eric Maddock of Oscar Faber, we designed a scheme where the Forum's natural light component was moderated by a 50 per cent frit on the roof glazing to limit glare, and then we artificially lit the leaf-shaped roof structure with up-lighters, supplemented by direct down-lighters, beneath the glazing bays.'

The three-storey main building contains a combination of suspended light-fittings, with a direct and reflected light component to provide relatively uniform light for computer use and working at the desks. This is supplemented by cast-in feature lighting on circulation routes and the balconies to the atrium.

'The aim has been to provide a variety of lighting types according to the use and form of the building, all of which have been detailed to integrate with the architectural design.'

Norfolk County Council has resolved to rename the newly-created public square - between the Forum and St Peter Mancroft church - as 'Millennium Plain', in recognition of 'the Millennium Commission's major contribution to the capital funding of this project'.


CLIENT Norfolk County Council ARCHITECT Michael Hopkins & Partners MAIN CONTRACTOR RGCarter STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Whitby Bird & Partners QUANTITY SURVEYOR Turner & Townsend

Seasonally adjusted lights

It is generally assumed that daylighting in an office environment is preferable to the relentless glare of fluorescent lights. Whether the perception is justified or not, much research has gone into increasing the level of natural or borrowed light into workspaces to make them more 'user friendly'.

A new application by Se'lux has tried to integrate the two to enable artificially lit spaces to mimic the non-flat lighting variations of natural light.The vicissitudes of Britain's overcast sky means that the intensity, colour rendition and direction of natural light are in constant flux and it is believed that these constant changes are important in creating environments that enhance our sense of well-being.

The M-Series RGB office luminaire can create colour variation in ambient lighting to reflect the natural shifts between the red, green and blue components found in natural daylight.

This flux can be or manually adjusted to suit individual requirements or automatically regulated by infra-red sensors to mirror daylight fluctuations.

The direct/indirect fitting is 140mm wide with three dimmable T16 coloured fluorescent lamps to provide the indirect element, enabling the ceiling to be lit in virtually any colour. The direct elements at each end of the fitting are fitted with standard white-light TC-L lamps, so that lighting onto work surfaces remains at an average of 500lux white light.

Contact: Se'lux Lighting at enquire@selux. co. uk


The influence of light colour on user acceptance according to season, weather, daytime by Susanne Fleischer, Institut fur Hygiene und Arbeitsmedizin, University of Zurich

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