The Book

This second collaboration between the RCA Helen Hamlyn Centre, the RCA's Department of Architecture and the Megaman Charity Trust Fund has brought to light some interesting results. Building on the findings of the previous study: 'Light Volumes and Dark Matters' (2008/10), the findings of this two year project are published in 'In the Shade: Lighting Urban Communities' and discussed at a seminar at the RCA on 25th September 2012.

'In the Shade: Lighting Urban Communities' proposes a fundamental rethink of how we light urban public spaces. Based on the principal that city lighting is unevenly distributed, with light pollution in some tourist areas and many pockets of the city under-lit at night, the two year project looked at finding alternative lighting strategies which could revitalise overlooked urban spaces.


In the first year of the study, architect Megan Charnley worked with local communities on the historic Boundary Estate in London to explore how an alternative lighting strategy could revitalise overlooked pockets of the city. Her research led to the proposal of a 'Night-time Neighbourhood Network' of brightly lit 'nodes' that would encourage social activity around community facilities, creating safe and inclusive evening areas within a dimmer streetscape.

During the second year of the project, industrial designer Tom Jarvis developed this hypothesis further by turning the theory into a reality on the Boundary Estate. By observing the construction methods already used by councils to construct local infrastructure, he designed and had installed a tubular LED lighting system that enables existing public objects such as benches, fences, handrails and bike racks to become luminaires themselves. Next

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