Posted by: Gregory | May 19, 2015

Relighting Cuba Mall

WCC put out a press release around some current work going on in Cuba Mall.

Wellington’s famous Bucket Fountain will soon look almost as colourful by night as it does by day thanks to a street light upgrade that will make Cuba Mall much lighter and brighter.

The fountain has been removed for maintenance and while it’s gone, new poles and LED street lights are being installed that will have multiple benefits.

The soft white light – similar to the light from a full moon – will make walking through the mall at night a much more pleasant experience.  It will be easier on the eye, and mean colours stand out and look more natural.

The new lights will save energy too, lowering electricity consumption by about 80 percent and roughly halving power costs for the area.

The area around the fountain has been blocked off by hoarding, so there’s not much to see at the moment. While I was out with the dog this morning, I decide to snap a few photos of the surrounding area, to look at the lighting at the moment.


The overhead lights were off, so the vast majority of the light is spill from the buildings and verandahs. Currently, the scene is pretty high contrast and details are hard to pick out.


The lights above Bucket Fountain are still on, with the distinct yellow glow of your average street light. Contrast is a bit lower and spill goes half way up the first storey. It’s pretty easy to see what’s in front of you, but details don’t carry far.

wpid-img_20150519_054446.jpgLooking north from Dixon Street, you can see the difference in colour between the overhead lights.

For comparison, I took another two on the way back.


The nearby lights appear to be the old type and off in the distance, you can see the newer lights along Courtenay Place. I got sidetracked along Egmont Street, so I missed out on an actual comparison with Courtenay.


Instead, I popped by Pukeahu on my way home for an example of newer lighting. It features a much more even light coverage of the footpaths and grassy areas, especially compared to lighting on normal streets, which is often useless from a pedestrian point of view.

“With the improved colour clarity, it will be easier to see and recognise people, the plants will be green and the Bucket Fountain will look great.

It’s nice to see green grass showing as green, lit like this. It makes the space feel much more natural and welcoming, even when the sun is down.

The issue of urban lighting has been on my mind for the last week or so. I’m starting to look into lighting around paths and places to see if we’re doing things to support the types of activities that we want, especially in the winter months where daylight is scarce. Expect more on this shortly.

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