Lighting Up

In the redesign of Bishop’s University Library, architectural firm Lemay collaborated with lighting agency LumiGroup for the new lighting design for a comfortable, well-lit environment.

Bishop’s University Library has three levels: the basement, ground floor and second floor. All were in dire need of a refresh. Over the years, the library’s stacks had become so densely packed that they blocked most of the available natural light, despite the ample size of the building’s windows. Because it had many corridors, the library had become a dusty and confusing labyrinth. The low-ceilinged basement received no natural light at all, adding up to a far from inviting atmosphere.

Lemay collaborated with lighting agency LumiGroup for the new lighting design

Making Way For Natural Light
The Lemay team decided to prioritize natural light in the daytime and install effective artificial lighting in the building’s various zones. Upon entering the library, the large windows and vertical lighting inspire a sense of clarity and serenity. Pendant lamps reflect the library’s unique identity right at the entrance zone.

The Agora is the hub, finished in wood, where the ground floor and second floor meet. All parts of the staircase are flooded with natural light. The Agora - a traffic area – is also a space for reading and for listening to guest lecturers. So, uniform lighting, adaptable to different kinds of events was used. Attractive black fixtures echoing the stools arranged around the tables, were installed in the ceiling inside black baffles that help dampen sound. They are almost invisible, melting perfectly into their surroundings. Dimmers make it possible to adjust the lighting for lectures. Lastly, to make the most of the available natural light, several study rooms with large windows were added to the second floor.

Lemay collaborated with lighting agency LumiGroup for the new lighting design

Creating Sub-Spaces for Lighting Each Zone
As well as bridging the inside and outside, the designers wanted to create multifunctional zones while keeping traffic moving smoothly. The architects built a large wooden spine on each floor. It snakes through the entire building, connecting each functional zone, making it easy for students to easily find their way.

To separate the zones and give each one a distinctive ambience, LumiGroup specified directional and spotlighting. In the basement, worktables are equipped with low desk lights in the form of linear LED lamps attached to the tables along with their entire length, allowing students to study comfortably for hours on end.

Lemay collaborated with lighting agency LumiGroup for the new lighting design

In the stacks, surface-mounted linear fixtures are installed around the entire perimeter of the building to provide fresh illumination for the once-dim basement which had zero natural light and a very low ceiling which made the space feel dark and cramped. With the new wall-mounted lighting all around the library, it no longer feels like a basement. Lastly, ceiling fixtures illuminate the two reading areas at either end of the building, giving the spaces a warm and relaxing atmosphere.

Photo credit: Stéphane Groleau
Source: v2Com