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Oxford Road Underpass

Workington, England, United Kingdom

Photo Credits: Chung Lee, LITE

Revitalized underpass becomes beacon of vitality


The Oxford Road Underpass was once a dingy and intimidating passageway that besmirched the face of Workington, a seaport in the northwest British county of Cumbria. But in 2009, LITE, an architectural lighting firm, and Capita, a professional management and service solutions provider, teamed up with local electrical contracting group Miltech to breathe some life into the pedestrian tunnel — and, with it, the timeworn town. They orchestrated a project to revitalize the structure, flooding it with vibrant, uplifting LED lighting from Color Kinetics that would reposition the passageway as a beacon of vitality and town pride.

The organizations knew right off the bat that specifying LED luminaires would be critical to ensuring the project's success. Because the underpass connects to a busy roadway, the team needed a lighting system that would require little maintenance so as not to disturb the flow of traffic. But they didn't want to compromise on light quality. Brilliant LED lighting luminaires from Color Kinetics proved the best of both worlds, providing dazzling color-changing capabilities with minimal upkeep requirements.

To illuminate the tunnel's authentic Victorian stonework — made with locally-sourced stone — Miltech installed 40 ColorGraze Powercore (now specified using ColorGraze MX Powercore) luminaires. The luminaires, which are spaced 300 mm (12 in) from one another and 150 mm (6 in) from the stone walls, were recessed into the floor with specially-constructed, third-party housings and glass panel coverings. The dynamic light shows that now bathe the tunnel in rich, inviting color are controlled with a Color Kinetics iPlayer 3 DMX controller.

The complete solution has not only reinvigorated the tunnel and established a new town landmark, but also enables significant savings: annual energy and maintenance costs are about 45% lower compared to the previous system. "The lighting scheme fulfilled our most vital design and cost savings objectives, and beyond," Capita's Ian Harker said. "It's created a civic focal point for the local community."
Project credits

Lighting Installation:

Miltech

Lighting Design:

Ian Harker and Capita

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