Light is the singular element that unites the buildings on the University of the Arts campus, in London, as it marries the historic architecture and the contemporary structures. The school’s main entrance is through the landmarked Granary Building, a 19th century masonry structure. Narrow-beam, inground, high-intensity discharge fixtures accent the façade’s brick piers, and inground linear fluorescents call attention to the cornice and lintel details.

Once students and faculty pass through the entrance, they are greeted by what’s referred to as the East–West link, a vast atrium space that provides a transition through the centuries. The space is partially covered by a glazed, cantilevered roof that allows natural light to supplement the electric lighting. A new integrated rail detail on the Granary façade recalls the building’s sliding-door track, which is fitted with mounting points for theatrical lighting equipment needed for special events and exhibitions. In the ceiling plenum, custom-designed drum-style luminaires house fixture clusters that provide a layer of downlighting.

The school’s new building is also organized around a large, covered, atriumlike space. Referred to as the Covered Street, it is topped by an ETFE roof. A lighting rail that carries the power infrastructure runs along the roof’s perimeter and secures spotlights, which can be fitted with gobos and filters. Concrete and steel walkways are lit with 4000K neutral white light, which differentiates them from the other circulation and gathering spaces on campus that are lit with 3000K. Old and new complement one another, thanks to the carefully considered lighting design, as articulated by the designers at Speirs + Major.

Project: University of the Arts, Kings Cross, London •  Entrant: Speirs + Major, London •  Owner/Client: Argent, London •  Architect: Stanton Williams, London •  Lighting Designer: Speirs + Major, London  Team Members: Mark Major, Andrew Howis, Philip Rose, and Rose Richardson •  Building Services Engineer: Atelier Ten, London •  Electrical Contractor: Grattes Brothers, London •  Photographer: Nick Hufton, Hufton + Crow, London •  Project Size: 6,800 square meters (73,195 square feet) •  Project Cost: $221.5 million •  Lighting Cost: Withheld •  Watts per Square Meter: 12.9W (The installed loads for both schemes are considerably higher than the average consumption due to the use of control systems throughout.) •  Code Compliance: BREEAM Excellent •  Manufacturers: ACDC; Encapsulite; Enliten; Erco; Fagerhult; Meyer; Oldham Lighting; Philips; PJR Engineering; Siteco; Sill; Targetti Louis Poulsen; Wila Jury Comments: Interesting interface that creates a moment between the old and the new architecture. • The lighting details are carefully integrated so that they become part of the architecture.