challenge One of the United Kingdom's premier seaside resort towns on the North Sea coast, Great Yarmouth has always been recognized for its beaches and maritime history. Economically, the town has relied on a lengthy tourist season of up to eight weeks, but over time that holiday period has declined. In an effort to draw visitors year round and have them recognize the spot as more than just a warm-weather destination, an organization called the Great Yarmouth inteGREAT Partnership was created in 2003 to revitalize the town, the beach, and area historical sites. One of the first projects, part of a multi-phased master plan, was the installation of new lighting along the beachfront esplanade.
architectural and lighting solution The lighting scheme employs new custom-designed poles, finished in a gold tone, that support two carefully secured luminaire components: a footway-type downlight that provides the correct light levels for pedestrians, and a color-changing fixture that is focused toward the beach. 'Particular effort was made to make sure they sat well with the existing town streetscape infrastructure,' explains Peter Western, Martin Architectural's U.K.-based project engineer, who collaborated on the project.
The fixtures, Martin Architectural's Exterior 600s, are positioned at 38 separate locations along the esplanade, which borders the mile-long stretch of beach between the Wellington and Britannia piers. The luminaire, which uses a 575W metal halide lamp, was selected for its color-changing capacity and programming capabilities, and was specified with an IP65 rating in order to withstand wind, salt, and mist.
The CMY color-mixing system is able to project numerous color sequences. To date, blue, pink, and yellow tones have been used to wash the beach, sand, and water, transforming what is normally viewed as a recreational space into something more theatrical and ephemeral. The color selection is still a work in progress, says Western, and it is likely that the colors will grow to coincide with specific events and holidays as inteGREAT expands its programming. The lighting control system is located across from the esplanade in a council building. Although this posed a bit of a challenge for the cabling, it gives inteGREAT the flexibility to add equipment and programming capabilities at a later date.
Although a great deal of focus has been placed on attracting tourists to Great Yarmouth, inteGREAT is also working to provide local residents and businesses with a 'safer, more comfortable and dynamic place to live and work.' To that end, the new lighting scheme has made the beach and esplanade an approachable nighttime location with an ambiance completely different from its daytime character. 'One of the first effects we saw was people actually using the beach in the evening,' says Rosie Couch, the marketing communications officer for inteGREAT. As she points out, it not only extends the summer season, but also stretches day into evening, providing new opportunities for esplanade business, like cafes that are open at night-a win-win situation for residents and beachgoers alike. elizabeth donoff