Established in 1828 by a group of prominent politicians, and subsequently granted a Royal Charter by King George IV in 1829, King's College in London proudly holds a nearly two-century legacy. The campus comprises numerous buildings and academic departments, with its heart and constant focus being the Strand Campus.
In 2012, Hall McKnight architects secured the competition to redevelop the Quadrangle at King’s College Strand Campus. They enlisted the expertise of Light Bureau to provide specialised insight for the Quadrangle and the Quadrangle Building.
Client : King’s College London
Architect : Hall McKnight
Structural Engineer : Elliott Wood Partnership / Plan B
M&E Consultant : AECOM
Project Manager : 3PM
Principal Designer : Hasco Europe
Main Contractor : Farrans Construction / Overbury
Heritage Consultant : Montagu Evans
Completion year : 2022
Photographer : Sam Phillips, Johan Dehlin and Light Bureau
Awards : Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) International Award Winner
This revitalisation of the Quadrangle, known as the ‘Quad’, stands as a flagship endeavour within the university’s visionary framework, outlining their ambitious aspirations for the upcoming 200th-anniversary milestone.
Addressing architectural and heritage considerations, the project necessitated a cohesive lighting strategy spanning interior and exterior spaces, aiming to optimise the experience for students within the buildings and the versatile use of the courtyard.
The Quadrangle – A unifying Courtyard
At the heart of the Strand Campus, the Quadrangle serves as the exterior link between multiple campus buildings, including the listed King’s Building and the SHEW (Sommerset House East Wing) building. Accessible from street level, the courtyard’s surface is, in reality, the roof of the Quadrangle Building, extending across the two basement floors below. Light Bureau adeptly illuminated the heritage buildings surrounding the courtyard to enhance the space’s character, aid navigation, and provide subtle ground illumination at a lower intensity for daily use. Concealed luminaires in the light wells maintained an unobtrusive appearance. To ensure courtyard flexibility and unobstructed surfaces, Light Bureau designed a bespoke wall arm for a precise array of spotlights atop the SHEW building elevation. Employing non-intrusive fixings, these luminaires were configured with multiple pre-sets corresponding to events in different sections of the courtyard.
The Quadrangle Building – Deep learning
Given that the teaching and learning areas within the Quadrangle Building span two basement levels and have limited exposure to natural light, the project demanded a lighting strategy that could imbue these spaces with an engaging and comfortable ambiance for students. Light Bureau struck a balance between a light quality that keeps the space lively during the day while facilitating intimate group work or one-on-one discussions. Preserving architectural character was vital, with elements like historic fabric, texture, and detail remaining prominent rather than getting lost in diffuse light. A highly sensitive and tailored approach guided lighting choices, involving varying colour temperatures and diffusion levels for different features within the space.
Design Director, UK