The daylighting strategy for Westminster Academy, a new inner-city school in London and home to 1,175 students, was two-fold: the development of a baffle system in the atrium, and the creation of light wells in eight classrooms that had no external windows. As London-based lighting design firm BDP Lighting, who worked closely with the architects, describes, “to maximize the daylight performance of the building to create a stimulating, efficient and, low-maintenance lighting installation.”

In the school's atrium space, BDP devised a scheme that would maximize diffused skylight ingress while controlling the amount of sunlight yet still providing some direct sky views. The lighting team created an array of tilted baffles, which align with the building's north/south structural line. The baffles, which also provide acoustic absorption for the four-story open space, are painted matte white on their south-facing side to “optimize reflected sunlight” and are colored shades of green on their north-facing side. The spacing of the baffles along with their positioning angle and height were designed to attenuate the majority of sunlight entering the atrium through the glass roof, yet still allow for some direct sunlight to animate the space.

For the eight internal classrooms with no windows, the lighting designers took an iterative calculation approach to maximize diffused skylight into these areas. The solution was to create a series of light wells that bring natural light deep into the building by extending the width of the daylight corridor areas. Coupled with the light wells are direct/indirect fixtures alternated with vertical baffles. The classrooms receive 300 lux to 500 lux. In classrooms with windows, luminaires adjacent to the window wall are equipped with integral photocells and operated with closed loop daylight linked dimming. The end result is a luminous interior where students and teachers can focus on learning.

Jury Comments
Randy Burkett: Creative use of daylighting resulting from careful study of the problem.

Jean Sundin: We could clearly see that the daylight input had an impact on the configuration of the architectural spaces and made them much better than they would have been without it.

David Ziolkowski: Well done precision daylight control tied into the architectural form.

Location: London
Client: Westminster Academy, London
Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, London Lighting
Lighting Designer: BDP Lighting, London
Photographers: David Barbour, Sanna Fisher-Payne, BDP Lighting, London
Manufacturers: Concord Marlin, Encapsulite International, Lightform, Fagerhult, Whitecroft Lighting, Zumtobel