Castle of Good Hope

Cape Town, South Africa

Photo Credits: Philips Lighting South Africa

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Built between 1666 and 1679, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest existing and occupied heritage building in South Africa. In 1936, the castle was declared a historical monument, and is now considered one of the best examples of a Dutch East India Company fort. The structure originally served as a replenishment station for ships on long journeys passing through the dangerous waters off the coast of Cape Agulhas, past the southern tip of Africa, and the landmark has been very well preserved since.

Located in the center of the busy city of Cape Town, the Castle of Good Hope is admired by many tourists during the day. A lighting renovation was necessary to welcome and intrigue visitors at night, making the castle a visible landmark into the night hours. The goal of the project was to create a "curtain of light" that would accentuate, complement, and draw attention to the historic building façade and stone wall bastions, thus giving the building a more inviting character and strategic visibility. The castle's aged patina required the lighting to be installed without damaging the exterior walls.

The project was executed by Ross Blakeway from Solid State Lighting International, South Africa, who chose Philips Vaya fixtures to meet all the goals for the project. Vaya Flood MP, RGB fixtures were used on the castle's entrance tower and main walls to create a wall wash effect. These flood fixtures were also used on the castle bastions and the north and south walls to create the "curtain of light" effect. Vaya Flood LP, RGB fixtures were used to graze almost 65 m (213.25 ft) of the Darling Street wall and three of the five main bastions, Buuren, Leeudam and Orange to create vertical patterns. The entire lighting system is controlled by one iPlayer 3, which is loaded with a variety of lighting shows, bringing vibrant colors to the iconic landmark.

The 78 LED fixtures met all the goals of the project, including unobtrusively integrating with the castle's exterior due to their small and slim aesthetic design. The UV-free lighting sources do not transmit heat with the light beam, preventing damage to UV or heat sensitive materials, such as the historic patina. At night, the castle is vibrantly illuminated for visitors, and gives the castle the ability to highlight holidays and events including lighting the structure pale blue for Diabetes awareness month and red for AIDS awareness month. Immediately after installation, the power consumption was reduced by 50%, and maintenance costs lowered as fixture life increased from 4,000 hours to 75,000 hours with the newly installed Philips LED lighting solution. The fixtures complement the castle's stone wall façade without detracting from the heritage building's structure.

"The quality and efficacy of light from the Vaya flood lights impressed us as we did not expect the punch nor color consistency of the light emitted from such a compact and economically priced unit," said Blakeway. "What we had designed on paper was achieved and exceeded on implementation."

Project Credits

Lighting Designer:
Tomas Sandoval, Philips Color Kinetics & Ross Blakeway, Solid State Lighting International, South Africa

Project Manager:
Ross Blakeway, Solid State Lighting International, South Africa

Lighting Show Author:
Ross Blakeway, Solid State Lighting International, South Africa

Jacques Lawrence Prolec Electrical Contractors