Kirkstall Bridge Clock Tower

Kirkstall Bridge is a new retail destination to the west of Leeds, occupying a peninsula formed by the River Aire and the Mill Race. The site lies within an area of important industrial heritage with Kirkstall Forge, Abbey Mills and the remains of Kirkstall Abbey all close to the site. The clock tower at the heart of the development is created as a response to the industrial history of the area.

For the piece, architectural glass artist Kirsty Brooks took inspiration from the 1930s clock tower of the former Thrift Stores which had dominated the site, with the clock face and mechanism made by the famous local clockmakers Potts of Leeds. Kirsty integrated these elements along with images of industrial artefacts and processes specific to Kirkstall which are featured in the screen-printed glass cladding The clock tower itself is wrapped in an image of a woollen spool, reflecting the blanket making and textile fulling activities carried out nearby.

JPLD were appointed by Kirsty to develop a subtle lighting scheme which emphasized the elements described in the narrative while helping to establish the piece against a visually busy backdrop. A simple yet robust scheme was created using RGBW linear luminaires to achieve the internal lighting and back lighting of the main glass, with a dimmable LED sheet solution through a semi-opaque diffuser used to backlight the two clock faces. The whole system is programmed & controlled via a basic Pharos control unit housed in an enclosure in the base with a daylight sensor on top of the tower to monitor changes in ambient light level.

The clock face lighting is tuned to the daylight ambient level to ensure it is “comfortable” to view regardless of the time of day. The internal glowing illumination of the tower is subtly changed to loosely reflect a natural daylight cycle and therefore human centric requirements aligned to our own circadian rhythms; delicate warm WHITE light gradually changing to cooler white light through midday back again to a warmer white into the afternoon and evening. These transitions are marked on the hour with a blue light fade moving through a red fade at midday.

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