Enlightened were delighted to be asked to provide new lighting and Audio Visual equipment to this beautiful and much loved church.
Known affectionately by locals as ‘Old Lady on the Hill’ Swindon’s Christ Church has recently closed for over two months for the first time in it’s 166 year history to undertake major remodelling and rejuvenation to it’s interior.
The work was made possible through generous private donation and additional support from the congregation and Friends of Christ Church.
The rejuvenation project which started in 2013 with the construction of an extension to it’s community centre, will allow the church to welcome it’s congregation into a warmer more attractive environment with the addition of a new heating system, flooring, seating, lighting, sound and AV improvements.
Though primarily a place of worship, the church hosts a wide range of community events as well as good number of concerts and film screenings.
Normal service was of course maintained throughout the installation with services held in the adjacent community centre.
Enlightened were asked to design and install a completely new lighting system that would best complement and enhance the architectural beauty of the church whilst also providing more flexible control over daily and specialist lighting states.
Our design for the lighting was based on an entirely LED solution, emphasising the flexibly of lighting control as well as the associated low running and maintenance costs. The lighting fixtures were selected for their high CRI, consistent colour temperature, reliability and range of beam angles.
The new lighting scheme was designed by simon Marcus, director of Enlightened and installed by our in-house team.
The main body of the lightings are GDS Arc System LED’s fixtures, one, two and four cell used as key light, task light and to enhance some of the architectural features. In true theatrical fashion where one lamp could be used to achieve two tasks the effect was doubly satisfying.
For example a number of the task lights in the Nave and Chancel were focused to give a scallop of lighting onto the stonework beneath the clerestory windows this enhanced the English Gothic revival architecture of Sir Gilbert Scott, architect of Christ Church, Swindon.
Often a lighting design ignores the dark roof truss timbers which rather cuts away that soaring feeling when daylight illuminates the majesty of such a substantial roof. This was addressed very simply by the use of LED ribbon, housed and lensed in aluminium profile and hidden on the top of each horizontal roof truss.
Key light for the altar and eagle lecture was achieved by the use of carefully positioned 19* two cell GDS fixtures.
Key light for stage performances required the addition of two ETC source 4 Lustre plus LED luminaires, over-rigged to the roof truss to give the correct angle for when the crossing and west chancel are used as a ‘stage area’.
To maximise the impact of the church’s stained glass set into high gothic revival windows in three locations, the east end behind the high altar and in both the north & south transepts, we used a combination of Anolis RGB LED Batons and GDS Arc System LED’s to individually feature light their beauty.
Lighting control, recall of lighting scenes and cross fade was made user friendly by incorporating a Pharos TCP touch-screen set into a new FOH control position.
We installed a high spec Eiki EK-620U 6300 Lumen Laser Projector with a long throw lens, mounted on a bespoke shelf made from recycled oak pews high on the nave’s central column. Mounting it here allowed the most direct line of sight to the screen whilst ensuring that normal activity could continue during projection with no issues of obstruction.
We discreetly installed the projection screen behind the chancel arch so that when not in use it could be remotely retracted and have no visible aesthetic impact on the nave’s liturgical perspective of the chancel, choir and high altar.
In addition we installed a Denon DN-500BD Bluray player, Google Chromecast and Apple TV along with upgraded Networking connections both Cat 6 wired and wireless to provide seamless integration and functionality allowing control and image projection across source formats from anywhere within the church be it from a live feed, disc, laptop or smart device.
Utilising much of the legacy sound equipment including analogue amplifiers mixing desk, microphones, receivers and induction loop it was important to the church that we rationalised this equipment and allowed for future expansion and upgraded digital functionality and control. Where required we upgraded existing cabling and re-routed it to the new Front of House Console that consolidated control of all lighting and audio visual equipment.
We specified and installed Yamaha MTX3 and MTX5-D processor with Dante that would allow for flexibility of future use whether through existing analogue control or digital mixing. We also installed a Yamaha DCP1V4S remote panel control in the area of the organ to allow control of the sound from the speakers covering the choir stalls.
It was important that the installation provided the opportunity for a more joined up and user-friendly approach to controlling the audio, lighting and AV functionality. One that would allow for future expansion whilst, affording more intuitive and practical method of operation.
To facilitate this we incorporated two touch-screen interfaces that while located at the front of house desk can be provide remote operation from anywhere in the church.
We used a Pharos Controls TPC touch-screen with a bespoke interface to control both the lighting states and AV operation including programmable lighting states remote screen operation and playback control.
For audio we installed an iPad with a custom built interface that allows simple control of audio devices including muting and level control of the microphones and stereo sources, as well as the ability to control input gain and equalisation. The iPad interface also allows control of audio output levels to the amplifiers and recording devices.
The completed installation has completely transformed the ‘Old Lady on the Hill’, emphasising the beauty of the architecture and empowering a vibrant reimagining of the church’s use and service.
Commenting on the rejuvenation project the Reverend Simon Stevenette, vicar at Christ Church for 18 years, said:
“We are really excited as the purpose of Christ Church is to connect the community with Christ and having a warm and more flexible building will enable us to meet the expectations of people who use the church for regular worship, services and other activities. It is a very important step forward”.
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