Developer : Stride Property
Architect : The Buchan Group
Electrical Engineer : Electrical Consulting Services (ECS)
Lighting Supplier : Aesthetics

When Stride Property awarded the contract for the design for the brand new retail and office complex in New Zealand’s largest city, the task of ensuring that the vast network of buildings was fitted with adequate commercial lighting may have seemed a little daunting to most. Even so, when the NorthWest Shopping Centre, found on Fred Taylor Drive and Maki Street in Auckland, opened in early October 2015 with complete lighting systems fully operational, it was apparent that an expert team must have carried out the work.

LED extrusion used at the ‘NorthWest’ – got in touch with Dale Wartnaby, Senior Electrical Engineer at Electrical Consulting Services (ECS) on the project. Dale has been at the very frontier of her field for the best part of 40 years, so who better to gain an insight from than the person that played a big role in lighting up one of Auckland’s most exciting new developments? Let’s take a look at what she had to say about this intriguing project.

Challenge accepted

The actual design of the building also threw up several challenges for Dale and the ECS team. For example, there are several areas in the centre where the ceiling rises from the ground floor shopping level right up to a high-level wooden ceiling, with the clerestory windows on either side. For the ceiling, linear extruded fittings were chosen, appearing in a random pattern along its length.

However, because the clerestory windows on the western side of the concourse allowed in ample amount of natural light, there was little need for artificial lighting during daylight hours. Hence, lighting in these particular areas needed to be automatically dimmed via the control system. However, it remained a challenge to ensure that uniform illumination was achieved outside daylight hours using this random layout.

It was necessary, therefore, for Russ Kern at ECS to spend a great deal of time both setting up the 3D model and running calculations to make sure that the desired result was achieved, and also to meet the design criteria.

The right lights

For the wooden ceilings, Dale opted for Austube 60 Greenstar LED Square aluminium extrusion. The body of the fittings are finished in black, meaning that they blend seamlessly when installed in between the dark slats. For the lower level plaster ceilings, Austube 50 Greenstar LED Recessed was chosen. In both of these areas, the lighting met the illumination targets laid out in the initial concept design.

It’s only fair to point out, though, that Aesthetics Lighting Solutions supplied the LED extrusions for this project, and that other fittings throughout the building were supplied by other companies. Even so, why not take a walk through the NorthWest Shopping Centre to check out the great example of a creative and innovative design?