A project by Bradford Council, that has transformed a key gateway into the city centre, has scooped a top national award, beating off stiff competition from projects including London’s famous Oxford Street and the affluent district of Kensington.
The old railway arches in St Blaise Square, which is next to Forster Square railway station, have won the Outdoor Lighting Project of the Year Award at the Lux Awards – which recognise the best lighting projects from across the country.
The LED lighting scheme was installed in 2015 as part of a series of improvements, by the council, to the pavements and pedestrian areas across the city centre including around the then newly opened Broadway Shopping Centre. This work was funded through the regional Growth Fund and the City Centre Growth Scheme.
The concept for the lighting design was to make the area an attractive environment and give people a warm, colourful and playful welcome along a main thoroughfare for commuters and shoppers accessing the city centre via Forster Square railway station.
The scheme’s key innovation is the use of 64 LEDs which are recessed into the block paving at the base of each arch wall illuminating the ten heritage railway arches. Four LEDs have also been recessed in a raised planter amongst trees in the area.
The lights complement the 1997 sculpture entitled Fibre, which is constructed from old railway lines and references fibre-optic cables. The iron railway tracks radiate down and round the pillars out towards the heritage railway arches.
The lights in the arches work in tandem with other lighting schemes including the lights on the clock tower of City Hall’s, at the top of the Margaret McMillan Tower and the fountains in the mirror pool in the multi-award winning City Park to tie different parts of the city centre together.
The colours of all the lighting schemes are programmed remotely and are regularly used to promote events and raise awareness of specific dates throughout the year.
This weekend the lights will be white, red, yellow and black to mark the WOW Festival, a global network of festivals that celebrate the amazing achievements of women and young girls. Next weekend they will be turned all white to mark international White Ribbon Day, which encourages men and boys to pledge to “never commit, condone or remain silent about male violence towards women.”
The council has been steadily building up a library of colours and programmes, constantly adding new ones. The lights have been claret and amber in honour of Bradford City Football Club and were recently purple to mark World Prematurity Day raising awareness of premature birth.
The project triumphed in the Outdoor Lighting Project of the Year category at the awards, winning out to Nottingham Biocity, Vicarage Gate House in London and Oxford Street in London, a street famous for its Christmas lights.
The judges cited the lighting at the refurbished Saint Blaise Square in Bradford for its ‘transformational’ quality providing a safe, clean and attractive environment while giving people a warm and colourful welcoming experience.
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Executive for Regeneration, Planning and Transport said: “The combination of the heritage arches and the innovative technology used makes the whole area a pleasant thoroughfare for our commuters and those visiting the city centre to shop and eat. I’m delighted that this project has been recognised in this way and I’d like to thank the staff for all their hard work.”