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The New Library Magdalene College

Prize(s) Winners in Workplace Lighting
Company Maxfordham Llp
Lead Designers Hazel Selby
Architecture Company Niall McLaughlin Architects
Client Magdalene College Cambridge
Photo Credits Nick Kane Photography
Completion Date December 2020
Project Location Cambridge UK
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Entry Description

This is a new 3-storey library with archive facility and picture gallery. The lighting was designed to minimise energy use and provide emphasis on the bookshelves and working plane. Reducing light spill and obtrusive light was also key. Pendants were chosen to provide a decorative feature that catches sunlight as well as producing directed light. We worked with the manufacturer to get exactly the right optics to create a uniform level from a minimum number of fittings. Bookshelf mounted lighting was used to illuminate the perimeter, helping define the space and aiding navigation. Switched task lights allowed us to provide higher light levels on the desks when needed, and a small palate of fittings was used throughout the building to facilitate installation and maintenance. We washed the pitched ceiling from the top of the beams to create a backdrop for long views through the glazing and a sense of height inside. This and the external lights were put on a timed control to minimise light spill after curfew. External lighting was kept to just the path, entrance and the terrace to light faces and routes whilst allowing the new building interior to remain the centre of attention.