National Archives of Australia beautifully grazed with ERCO Site

The National Archives of Australia is a government body that collects and preserves the records of the Australian Government reflecting its history and identity. It is referred to as the “nation’s memory” that consists of a living collection of the government records. It is located in Canberra.

In 2016, May + Russell architects designed a brand-new development for the National Archives Preservation Facility. Lighting for the facility was designed by WSP Vision. The building complex consists of two square structures amplifying the importance of preserving government documents.

ERCO provided the façade illumination for this significantly important governmental facility. The architects and lighting designer aimed to create a highly efficient lighting solution whilst having a grazing effect over the façade. As the building façade is made of a highly-textured natural stone material, the choice fell on ERCO Site – in – ground outdoor grazer façade luminaire. The Site emphasizes the tactile qualities of architectural materials; the grazing light wall washer brings out the textured surfaces exquisitely creating a grazing effect and making it a feature. In contrast to conventional wall washer which gives a soft character to materials, Site adds an almost tactile dimension through high – contrast light and shadow effects. Being positioned as close as 30 cm from the wall, the Site still produces an exceptionally uniform beam.

According to May and Russell Architects: “The facade of the records storage box references the Australian landscape by depicting a weathered, uneven, randomly disposed and sunburnt surface that may evoke a granite outcrop catching a rising or setting sun. The key element in preserving the nation’s records, the passage of time, is suggested by this reference to the ancient landscape.”

Another amazing feature that was achieved in this project is the spacing. The spacing between the fittings for the facade of National Archives building is an enormously large 13 meters! ERCO’s efficient photometric enable the luminaries to be far apart and therefore minimizing the number of luminaries involved, thereby making it more energy efficient. Site also ensures a superior visual comfort for the employees and visitors of this facility.

Lighting designer Anthony Linard comments: “The Site’s optics allowed for excellent coverage of the façade at a wide spacing that gave us the right mix of light and shadow. The ability to use such wide spacings resulted in good value for the client, and the internal tilt adjustment was a useful tool to help with positioning of the luminaires and fine tuning of the end result”.

Upon dusk, the Site brings out all the beauty of the sand stone material into everyone’s sight reflecting the significance of the building that is purposed to preserve the “nation’s memory”.


Project: National Archives of Australia / Australia
Photographer: Kiernan May, Canberra / Australia
Lighting Design: WSP Vision
Architect: May + Russell Architects
Products: Site In – ground outdoor grazer façade luminaire

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