The most striking exterior element of the Burlington Danes Imaging Centre in London is a stainless steel mesh screen along the front façade, which is illuminated from both the foreground and background. This technique, often used in theater, more effectively shows the transparency of the material and allows passers-by a glimpse inside by showing the exposed services of the interior. The design team at London-based NDYLIGHT, the lighting design firm on the project, carefully studied the mesh and how it responded to both natural and electric light.

A bridge connects the center to the adjacent Queen Charlotte Hospital. Blue sleeved fluorescent lamps are concealed at the floor base, and white light point sources are located along the sides of the bridge, “creating pools of light and enabling good face recognition,” explains Maida Hot, lighting design director at NDYLIGHT. The project uses both metal halide and fluorescent lamps, and color is integrated into the exterior lighting to give the building a nighttime presence.

For the exterior, the design team employed blue, green, and pink light. The use of color was derived from the need for the lighting design to distinctively illuminate the building without being too bright, Hot says, adding that blue and green were chosen because they are relatively dark hues that complement each other. The blue dichroic filter, which runs along the bottom of the mesh screen, has pink as a secondary color to delineate the end of the screen on the façade. With residential buildings across the street, the designers had to be aware of the center's impact on its surrounding environment. However, being conscious of the neighborhood had no negative impact on the end result: a dynamic exterior lighting design that distinguishes the building at night while also satisfying the client's goals, local regulations and guidelines, and energy codes.

Jury Comments Kathy Abernathy: Beautiful combination of interior and exterior lighting techniques to create a stunning nighttime image.

Laura Briggs: By folding contrasting types of light throughout the several layers of the main exterior façade, the designers were able to do a lot with a little.

Randy Burkett: Purposeful use of color visually exploits structural and environmental building forms normally found as benign.

Jean Sundin: The lighting of the screen façade really enhances the depth of space.

David Ziolkowski: The contrasting colors of the external and internal lighting creates a dynamic nighttime façade.

Details Location: London
Client: Imperial College, London
Architect: Sheppard Robson, London
Lighting Designer: NDYLIGHT, London
Photographer: Richard Leeny, Viewfolio, London
Watts per Square Foot: 0.7
Manufacturers: Encapsulite, Lightscape Projects, Meyer