Mark Sutton Vane visits the Olympic Park during the London 2012 Games. The Memory Masts, visible in the background, will remain as a permanent reminder of the events.

Mark Sutton Vane visits the Olympic Park during the London 2012 Games. The Memory Masts, visible in the background, will remain as a permanent reminder of the events.

Having played host to more than two million visitors during the 2012 Games, the Olympic Park in London entered is 18-month transformation phase in October, which will include its re-emergence as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in July 2013. Under the lighting strategy for the Park and Public Realm (PPR) created for the Olympic Development Authority by Sutton Vane Associates in 2008, temporary lighting is being removed and lighting levels will drop, with some areas left dark to avoid disturbing wildlife. Mark Sutton Vane explains:  


The strategy that Sutton Vane Associates and the ODA devised for the landscape and public realm lighting for the London 2012 Olympic Park will be felt long after the legacy phase starts in 2014. The London Legacy Development Corporation’s construction programme valued at about £300 million has already begun to transform the park, create new neighbourhoods and link communities in the surrounding boroughs of Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

More than 22 miles of interlinking pathways, waterways and cycle paths through the park are being reconfigured. Lighting levels across the park will drop and some areas will be dark zones designed to help conserve biodiversity. The aim will be to concentrate footfall at night on key routes, enhancing safety by focusing activity and footfall. 

To give some idea of the change taking place, during the Games, lux levels ranged from an average maintained illuminance of 30 lux / 15 lux minimum for highly populated concourse areas to 15 lux average / 5 lux minimum for general routes but lighting levels in areas such as towpaths will now fall to 5 lux average/1 lux minimum.


Lower lux levels in legacy

Apart from the lower lux levels across the park, one of the more visible differences will be that many of the 10-metre-tall columns containing clusters of ceramic metal halide spotlights will be removed and reused or recycled leaving fewer, shorter columns, mainly with LEDs. These have an energy-saving step-down Dali control ballast and removable internal LED trays system to ensure that lamp replacement or future upgrades are cost effective.


Memory Masts provide a reminder of London 2012

The tall Memory Masts that Sutton Vane Associates designed for the concourse will remain as a reminder of the Games. They are topped with wind turbines and each contains 12 luminaires housed in a 750mm-thick extrusion with a ring of individually addressable LEDS along its edge. The luminaires are on dual circuits so that only half need to be used in the Legacy phase but the option of additional light is still available for special occasions.

The temporary lighting that is being removed is covered by a buy-back and recycling scheme. This will leave mainly LED lighting in place on smaller scale 4.5m and 6m columns supporting technologies suitable for longer-term installation including LED lanterns. While the lighting strategy identified ‘dark zones’ within the parklands that are free from artificial light, LED lighting was chosen for the lit areas.