Hackney Town Hall

dpa lighting consultants

Hackney Town Hall, a Grade II listed Art Deco style building completed in 1937, has undergone an extensive high quality refurbishment. 

This work included a full upgrade in lighting. Working with Hawkins Brown Architects and Hackney Council, dpa lighting consultants developed a sensitive lighting approach to the restoration of the main entrance spaces, marriage suites, first floor lobby, council chamber, mayor’s offices and the newly created atria function spaces.

Throughout many of these spaces are existing art-deco luminaires which were fully refurbished. 

dpa provided technical design input and specifications for the integration of new LED light sources, replacing existing lamp types including T12 linear fluorescent, incandescent and tungsten architectural tubes. 

Mock-ups were carried out with manufacturer Madson Black to ascertain the best solutions for light sources, diffusion and high quality dimmability.

The feature chandelier and pendants in the council chamber are striking in terms of scale and detail, with three separately controlled lighting elements to allow varied emphasis of lit effect within each lighting scene. 

The internal lighting behind opal glass provides the main effect, which is supplemented with concealed uplighting to the ceiling, and the original architectural tubes mounted on the outside of each luminaire were re-manufactured with LED strips within diffused glass tubes. 

For the column-mounted art deco lights at ground and first floor level and various other pendants, the same detailed refurbishment approach was taken.

New decorative luminaires were designed in the same art-deco style, taking key design elements from the existing fittings. Two of these are in the reception and lobby spaces.

Other additions to the new lighting include:

o Discreet pinhole downlighting and perimeter covelight and wallwash where new dropped ceilings are introduced

o Backlighting to the onyx reception desk

o First floor lobby glass roof light for natural light: The existing glass is frosted and to introduce a lit effect at night ‘double sided’ LED lightsheet was laid behind the glass which let through daylight, but at night provided an even lit effect behind the glass. Additionally, this was tuneable white to have cool by day and warm by night.

o A similar concept for the skylight was applied to the ‘false’ windows at the stairs to suggest daylight through diffused glass windows

o The introduction of new steplighting and small integrated task lights ( not shown ) to each council chamber seat

o New LED coffer lighting and uplighting in the chamber

o New decorative lighting throughout the marriage suites in keeping with the art deco aesthetic

o A significant new feature is the introduction of two new enclosed atria spaces, created from external disused courtyards and re-imagined as multi-function spaces. More creative feature lighting in these spaces include RGBW light to the new roof structure and from the lift pit, uplighting to the restored brick walls, and special wall mounted downlights to illuminate the floor.

o The mayor's office features five original pendants which were also refurbished to contain three lighting elements similar to those in the council chamber.

o All lighting is controlled through a programmable scene-set dimming system. 

The judges described Hackney Town Hall as a beautiful refurbishment in keeping with the age and setting of the public building. 

They also cited the attention to detail and the superb integration of daylight and artificial light.