Gasholder No. 8 is a new public pocket park and event space in King’s Cross, London. It takes the form of a landscaped lawn, ringed by a mirror-polished stainless steel canopy set within a historic cast-iron gasholder structure. Inspired by its circular form, the narrative of the lighting concept is based on a solar eclipse. A contained, glowing ‘corona’ creates a sense of enclosure, while highlighting the rhythms of the architecture and the dynamic juxtaposition of the structure and landscape. Gentle cyclical cross-fading creates shifts, shadows and sparkle, fully immersing the users of the park in the experience.
In an eclipse, the form of the moon is revealed by a soft corona of light, which shifts in intensity and position as the sun and moon move relative to each other. To create a glowing ‘corona effect’ each of the new canopy uprights are uplit, the cool white light enforcing the architectural rhythm and reflecting from the canopy roof back onto the path. The historic gasholder frame is also uplit from the inside, creating a highly legible silhouette and reinforcing the special sense of enclosure with the illusion that all light is emanating from the canopy ‘corona’.
Twenty minute ‘eclipse’ cycles begin with all of the lights on, followed by cross fading from east to west, a pause in darkness (full eclipse) and then a slow east to west cross fade back up to full brightness. This apparent movement of the light creates fabulous shifts in the shadows and inter-reflections from the polished surfaces.
The management of the lighting program is based on an astronomical time clock, with the timing of the light cycles changing in accordance with the lunar calendar. The scheme is completed with warm white lighting to the steps and ramps integrated into the handrails to ensure safety.