The aim of illuminating a building is to recall the entirety of what you are looking at as if it is in daylight. Of course, a great benefit of using flexible lighting is that you can change the entire feel of a building by using a slightly different angle of light, or a different colour wash. You can enhance and expose details of a building by plays of light and shadow. But when it comes to historical buildings, what guidelines and products do you need to be aware of?
A lot of historic buildings and monuments can be enhanced with striking external lighting, which truly add to the character of the space. However, it’s important to realise that this can at times highlight flaws and views of the structure that may need to remain hidden. Historic England has a great document on the external lighting of historic buildings and the considerations to bear in mind when developing lighting schemes.
‘Because it looks good’ is not always enough of a reason to pop some lighting on a structure. Think of the bigger picture and how it won’t just improve the observation of the building. Will it improve safety at night if the area is well lit? Will it highlight key elements of the building that will add to its significance to the social environment? Might the lighting itself be an attraction that draws in extra visitors (if that is what you want)? Can the lighting allow the building to be used for new purposes such as concerts or other events?
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