Lux Award winner: The Elizabeth Line, Paddington

Circular lights in the ceiling of a concrete railway station
The lighting consultants WSP had to satisfy the exacting requirements of a variety of stakeholders while  minimising energy use and complying with complex standards and codes.

THIS YEAR’S Lux Award winner in the Industrial and Transport Lighting Project of the Year is the new Paddington Station for the Elizabeth Line in London.

The judges say were impressed with the lighting concept and execution, saying the design was very successful in creating a clear hierarchy and a strong visual identity. 

The lighting consultants WSP had to satisfy the exacting requirements of a variety of stakeholders while  minimising energy use and complying with complex standards and codes.

Built to the south of Brunel’s iconic 19th Century Paddington station, the new Crossrail station will span three levels with two new entrances via a new pedestrianised public realm scheme. 

An eight-metre-high steel and glass canopy covers the new entrances and floods natural light and clean into the station.

A ‘lily-pad’ lighting scheme provides a decorative and functional motif throughout the passenger areas. 

The unique system encompasses the architectural concept, structure, services and construction requirements into a simple elegant concept.

The concrete structure of the floor slabs is exposed as the visual soffit; its dimensions complements the original Brunel station and integrates the new station with the existing. 

Whilst providing the station support structure, the soffit incorporates cast-in conduit for all services including lighting. 

Each 10-foot c.3m is shaped, to reflect the large structural forces at play, with a 2m circular coffer in the centre framing a lily pad. 

The spun aluminium lily pads are bronze anodised to match the bronze cladding of the station and incorporate perforations to provide vital acoustic absorption such that the acoustics and the lighting work together to form a humane and comfortable experience.

Each lily pad provides direct lighting to the passenger space as well as discrete uplighting to enhance the circular coffers and visually raise the soffit. Careful design of the ‘lily pad’ ensures that no light sources will be visible, only the effects of the lighting.

Lighting levels and lighting uniformity in stations are high risk considerations. A lighting control system was used to reduce the lighting outputs in certain areas and achieve uniformity across concourse and platform levels (as per London Underground’s S1085 requirements). 

As most station areas are covered, light levels remain operational 24/7 whilst maintenance managers can still control individual luminaires for maintenance and failures. 

The overall energy and carbon consumption using LED lighting was 7 W/m2, the pervious design used 12 W/m2, using fluorescent and metal halide lamps.

Clarity and collaboration was essential on the project, with different assets belonging to different stakeholders, meaning the lighting installation and electrical design had to comply with the requirements and installation needs of different asset-owning stakeholders such as Network Rail who managed the main entrances and departures road standards; Crossrail who were responsible for the main station, and Westminster’s City Council which has control over the surrounding external roads and public realm area. 

The team ensured the correct luminaires were specified and on the approved material list to avoid potential confusion and reduce project risk.