Dramatic light show launches new High Tech & Digital Centre

The Hi Tech & Digital Centre at South Devon College was brought dramatically to life last Friday, with the ceremonial ‘switch on’ of a three-storey lighting installation, which powerfully reinforces the Centre’s curriculum focus on the growing hi-tech manufacturing, digital and creative sectors

Friday night’s impressive coloured light show was viewed by an audience of invited guests who braved the rain to witness the inaugural ‘Evening of Illumination’.

The lighting installation forms the façade of the asymmetrical drum which surrounds the main entrance and houses a 100-seat screening suite. This illuminated drum is a powerful feature of the building and one which the architects in LHC’s Plymouth studio designed to be both functional and beautiful.

The lighting design is the work of the award winning Michael Grubb Studio, creative lighting designers whose projects include such spectacles as the lighting display at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The studio delivers innovative designs which address how we perceive and interact with buildings.

This significant use of lighting is particularly relevant on the High Tech & Digital Centre as photonics – the science of light, which includes fibre optics, lasers, LED technology – is a growth sector in the region and one which the curriculum supports.

Impressive as it is, the lighting installation has been designed to be extremely energy efficient, with power provided by 130 photovoltaic panels on the roof. These produce 120% of the energy needed by the Centre and are just one of the factors which contributed to both a BREEAM Excellent and an EPC A rating.

LED and lensing technology have been employed to provide the highest performance and lowest energy consumption. Lights are manufactured from largely recyclable or reusable materials, and operate between dusk and 10pm, ensuring there’s no wasted energy outside of the College’s opening hours and minimising light pollution

Games & Interactive Media student, Ollie Gisborne, was chosen to throw the main lighting switch on the night. Ollie recently won a competition to design the logo for the centre’s Java Café, which also sits within the drum.

Built by Midas Construction and designed by LHC Design, who were responsible for the architecture, interiors and landscape design, the Centre welcomed its first cohort of students in September.

Martin Simpson of LHC Design, Senior Project Architect for the project said:

It’s great to be at the launch of the Centre, which leads on from our work on the campus masterplan & LDO approval. It has been a truly collective engagement process between all involved, which is evident in the way the building fabric, interiors and landscape all complement each other to deliver a great facility for future learners.

Laurence Frewin, Principal at South Devon College, said:

As the new Principal of South Devon College, it was an honour to host this first formal event at our brand new Hi Tech & Digital Centre, welcoming many of our valued key partners and stakeholders from the local area. This evening was particularly special as we were able to show, for the first time in public, an illuminating display that reinforces and reflects the Centre’s focus on hi tech, digital and creativity.