Adelaide Railway Station’s new architectural lighting has been officially switched on, just in time for the station to act as a vibrant bookend to Illuminate’s City Lights spectacular along North Terrace.
From 15 July 2022, the heritage icon’s façade will be awash with colour, highlighting the true beauty of its neoclassical detailing. The nearby Festival Plaza will also host the unique interactive light installation Impulse - a series of 15 giant glowing seesaws that come alive when in motion.
A network of ultra-modern LEDs and spotlights - discreetly embedded within the station’s many nooks and ledges – have been used to enhance both the interior and exterior of the station, with careful attention paid to respecting the station’s original fabric.
Inside the station, the existing heritage wall lights and pendant lights have been re-lamped to retain an important piece of the past, while a mixture of soft uplights and downlights have been installed to enliven the vaulted ceiling and the station’s many niches, curves and lines along the concourse and ramp. The historic Seppelt’s sign above the escalators at the main entrance on North Terrace has also been re-illuminated.
A new lighting scheme on the building’s exterior will deliver greater visual prominence to the station’s most exquisite architectural elements, including its friezes, parapets, plinths, porticos, cornices, arches, balustrades, columns and windows.
Renewal SA General Manager Major Projects and Pipeline Tony Cole said Renewal SA had set out to recreate a memorable sense of place and wonder at the century-old building and that the impressive new lighting, along with the building’s thoughtful restoration, had delivered just that.
“When the station first opened in 1928 it was touted as the most magnificent and contemporary railway station in the Commonwealth,” Mr Cole said.
“So returning it to its former splendour has allowed it to become a beacon of the city once again, and a real point of emphasis within the whole revitalised Karrawirra Pari/Riverbank Precinct.
“It is a destination, a place of positive atmosphere, with elevated appearance and improved visibility and safety… and befitting of its status as a State Heritage building.”
The new lighting design was developed by international lighting and audio-visual design studio, FPOV, which was engaged to highlight the inherent grandeur of the building and generate a heightened level of ambience using the latest in lighting technology. The project was delivered by Built and SKS Technologies.
FPOV Studio Director Ingrid Baldwin said harsh floodlighting had previously meant the intrinsic elegance of the station had been overlooked.
“When we partnered with Renewal SA our overall aim was to help reconnect people to the space around them and give them pause to look up and take in the gorgeous architectural features, possibly for the very first time,” Ms Baldwin said.
“We also wanted to improve the night-time appearance of the station and underscore its magnificent scale and volume, something which is easy to overlook in an increasingly built-up environment.
“We hope our design will transform what has largely been a functional space into more of an experience, one that is welcoming, surprising, even enchanting… and that helps people identify with the built form around them and feel a sense of civic pride when they spend time in the precinct.”
To better understand the station’s story and architectural significance, the FPOV team liaised with Heritage SA and took the time to immerse themselves in and around the station at various times during the day and night.
This allowed them to experiment with different lighting temperatures and effects, as well as identify external sources of lighting interference from surrounding buildings to help inform a final lighting design that would hold its own amid the bright lights of North Terrace.
“We have introduced a warm, white, ambient light that is low-glare and that complements the station’s sandstone render,” Ms Baldwin said.
“Importantly we have endeavoured to create contrast through shadow and relief, rather than an over-abundance of light, and use this approach to draw the eye to the most remarkable features of the building. Often it’s what you don’t light up that matters most.”
The architectural lighting project formed part of Renewal SA’s vision to uplift the station and surrounding public realm through extensive restoration works and the creation of new retail and dining experiences reminiscent of the station’s heyday.