St Mary’s University College, Twickenham

Project: St Mary’s University College, Twickenham

Twickenham has long been the home of English rugby but this summer Olympic teams from China, Ireland, South Africa and Japan will be using the facilities at St Mary’s University College following the construction of a brand new state-of-the-art £8.5m sports centre. The new sports centre, officially opened by Lord Sebastian Coe, features energy efficient lighting controls and luminaires from RIDI Lighting.
The new centre is sited on Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) and, as such, has to comply with stringent targets in sustainability, energy efficiency and renewables. The centre, along with the fully refurbished existing facilities, has since been awarded an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating, with 20% of its energy consumption coming from renewable sources.
The refurbishment and extension at the site is fully compliant with a number of sporting national governing body facility guidelines. The lighting scheme had to be designed to suit the requirements of a variety of sports so required an easy to use and programmable system. This RIDI system allows lighting scenes to be set on a court-by-court basis as well as integrating with the daylight sun pipes and the natural ventilation turrets. This feature facilitates the elimination of daylight and air movement during play, which is especially important in a badminton set up.
“The bookings can change from one hour to the next, for instance, in one slot there maybe netball and in the following slot it could be badminton, where the lighting levels need to be different,” comments Tish Jayanetti, Sports Facilities Manager.  “The ability to quickly switch between different lighting levels is very important for our operational staff as it allows us to provide a seamless, efficient and professional service.”
Commenting on the performance benefits of the setup, Tish adds, “For multi-sport halls such as the new performance hall - which caters for basketball, netball, badminton, cricket and handball - different lighting levels are required. National governing bodies (NGBs) for each of these sports stipulate the lighting levels, not only in relation to H&S but also to provide the optimum levels for performance. The RIDI system has allowed us to meet these demanding criteria easily and efficiently.” 
The challenge of the lighting scheme was to realise ambitious energy-efficient designs while accommodating the aesthetic constraints of lighting an architecturally striking building. The Dali control system extends to all areas and features automated daylight dimming to harvest as much natural light as possible. This system also makes the scene setting extremely quick and intuitive, with the additional benefits of absence/presence detection.
For luminaire specification, Dale Price of Michael Jones Associates opted for RIDI based on its ability to meet the differing architectural and practical demands of the complex. “We decided to use ABR Sport fittings from RIDI in the main hall as they can be mounted at a high level so offer no distraction to the athletes.”
In the Fitness & Conditioning Suite, Dale specified the U-Line luminaire which offer continuous runs of light and were able to accommodate the idiosyncratic fluctuations of the ceiling at the centre. “As well as the ability to fit into the interior, the U-Line luminaires eliminate any visible wiring – an important point when dealing with such a unique interior.”  
The finished project has created a perfect training base for the Olympic visitors but also a lasting legacy for the University College’s students, staff and local community. The project is also the perfect showcase for the versatility of the RIDI combined luminaire and lighting controls package.