In 2009 John Pawson Architects were awarded the contract to undertake a vast refurbishment project of the Church of St Moritz (founded in 1019) with the main aim to bring clarity and light to the church whilst respecting the work of previous architects and their vision.
Mindseye architectural lighting design were appointed as the lighting design team. Mindseye Associate Admir Jukanovic led the team on a five year journey which involved the daunting task of designing a scheme that produced light for the numerous areas of the church, yet ensuring to keep the products minimal and non-visible in most places.
A magnificent ecclesiastical building at the heart of city life, the Church of St Moritz is the oldest church in Augsburg. Founded in 1019 the church has undergone many diverse transformations over the years. The current result within this imposing structure demonstrates the rhythm of the space by accentuating the various architectural elements.
Respecting the John Pawson ethos of minimal design, Mindseye set out to ensure the luminaires were obscured from view and that the light spoke for itself. This threw up many challenges along the way, especially in a scheme where even the exit signs and emergency lights had to be non-visible.
“Using a dynamic white scheme, we allowed almost all luminaires in the church to change from warm white to neutral white. Warm white light prevails during the evening and night Mass, while neutral white is used during the day, matching the exterior light.” says Mindseye. “The Altar area itself is illuminated by 10 projector luminaries placed behind the dome lip and which are not visible to the churchgoer. To avoid visibility within the dome, the opening has been kept as small as possible.”
“To avoid unwanted spill of light in the arches of the main nave, the wall washer foil of the LED fittings has been turned by 90degrees, creating a defined longitudinal beam instead illuminating only the arches. The main focal point needed to be on the statue of Jesus in the Apse. This was achieved by creating a space of light behind the statue and focussing additional spots to create the illusion of the statue being actually bigger than it is.”
“The Dynalite control system contains over 30 programmed schemes. They can choose from a very minimal illumination on Good Friday, only accentuating the roman elements of the church, to Easter Sunday where all luminaries are on and tuned to create a pompous light, emphasising the baroque dome elements and main architectural features of the Church. During the normal ‘non mass’ opening times – the lights are set to encourage visitors to explore the church and lead them into the more private, smaller chapels.”