The landmark Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth is a new national icon, soaring 170m above the Solent. The tallest publicly accessible building outside London, it offers a unique view from its 100m, 105m & 110m observation decks. Main contractor Mowlem engaged Equation Lighting to create the Tower’s unique exterior lighting effects featuring two distinct aspects; white light focussed on the rear concrete legs and the lower vertical shaft below the cruciform to the front, and secondly, dynamic Martin Architechtural exterior colour changing lighting fixtures.
These coloured lights are programmed to change colour depending on the wind speed, with an anemometer driving the control system to set the lights at blue in low wind speeds, through green, orange, yellow to red at the highest wind speeds. The lights also reflect the state of the tide, with blue at low tide changing through to red at high tide. The demanding weathering conditions to be encountered lead to the lighting contractors having long technical discussions with ourselves as to the best sealing methods for the light enclosures, to ensure reliable service and yet be simple to maintain.
A number of solutions were proposed and trialled, with the final product being an expanded Neoprene gasket system, which satisfied all the criteria set by the customer. It is pleasing to see the lights continuing to function as intended, and the Tower has become a major sucess on the south coast of England.