Reggiani lights up Kenya with a new project for Kericho Cathedral
Sunluce, Envios and Lorosae are the light fittings specifically selected by Reggiani to blend in most harmoniously with the use of natural daylight - the key idea behind the entire design concept.
Reggiani once again finds itself at the centre of lighting for sacred places with the ambitious new Kericho Cathedral project designed by John McAslan + Partners. A unique place of worship located in the uplands of Kenya, this project showcases the perfect synergy between lighting and architecture.
The Cathedral is characterised by its strikingly steep roof and ascending internal volume which together create the perfect space for natural light to play out its role of fundamental symbolic significance to the Catholic faith. Central to the design concept and function, natural light is used to draw the eye towards the symbolic sanctuary area whilst also providing comfortable levels of lighting to the seated congregation and enabling them to better appreciate the form and volume of the space around them.
The world-class lighting design scheme created by Arup’s engineering arm combines technical excellence with design creativity to further enhance this inspirational space. During the day natural daylight brings the architecture to life by interacting with the building’s concrete arches and timber slats to create a visual hierarchy which channels attention to the altar – illuminated by a shaft of light. By contrast, architectural lighting illuminates the interior at night, creating a rhythm of light and shadow in the slatted timber ceiling that conceals the secondary structures above whilst revealing the simple beauty of the architectural form. The openings through which natural daylight filters and the electric lighting both work to reveal the surface qualities of the timber and concrete used within the architecture itself, while the simple palette of locally-sourced materials creates a sharp contrast with the bright colours of the equatorial sun and sky.
“Lighting for churches and other places of worship needs to be guided by the architecture and energy consumption, while also being sensitive to the nature of the worship within the building”, explains Matteo Reggiani, Corporate Strategic Officer at Reggiani. “In this particular case it was even more important to guarantee the perfect integration of artificial and natural light as this was the key idea behind the architectonic concept”, says Matteo Reggiani.
Natural light sources are incorporated into the very fabric of the building, with light from the central roof skylight guiding attention towards the altar and additional light coming in from the side windows and doors. Most services are held during the daytime but natural light levels vary considerably at high altitudes such as where the cathedral is situated: practically every day things can go from the intense heat and brightness of the sun at its zenith to overcast rain-filled skies.
Irrespective of the huge fluctuations in weather outside, the design of the roof skylight helps maintain a consistent level of lighting on the inside, creating a safe, “weather-free” space within for the congregation. An intermediate glass diffuser evenly redistributes the daylight throughout, protecting the interior as well as preventing piercing sunlight from causing any distraction during services. The roof skylight also widens the nearer it gets to the altar thereby letting in more daylight and ultimately making the altar itself the natural focal point of the entire structure.
Lighting simulations and climate-based daylighting techniques were key to understanding the basics of how the skylight and other daylighting components perform to balance the lighting levels and to create an extraordinary and welcoming interior.
The main light sources chosen by Reggiani for this particular lighting design are our simple and elegant track projector Sunluce; our exterior Envios IP66 projector, and the classic but minimalist Lorosae pendant.