St Peters Church Toorak: Lighting Team Reunite for Historic Refurbishment

St Peters Church stained glass windows lit from inside, view from Toorak Road

Clever lighting design and control can elevate established architecture, modernise historic sites and bring versatility to existing spaces.

The project:

St Peters Church in Toorak has been a site of constant renewal since the foundation stone was laid in 1933 by Archbishop Mannix, culminating in the latest major restoration beginning November 2020.

Lightmoves was chosen to do lighting control once again by long-time collaborators David Bird of 2BDesigned and Arthur Andronas of Andronas Architecture.

Over more than 30 years, Lightmoves has worked with Arthur and David on a series of projects, including St Stephens, St Marks Fitzroy, St Pauls and St Patricks Cathedrals in Melbourne.

The lighting team were brought on to achieve truly flexible and beautiful lighting design and control for St Peters. Dynalite lighting control of the internal and external elements was meticulously planned in collaboration with the client as well as David and Arthur.

The brief:

Lighting control needed to achieve five objectives:

  1.  Harmonious lighting control of fixtures illuminating the stained glass windows surrounding the church.
  2.  Lighting control which could accommodate various events throughout the Catholic calendar.
  3.  DMX control of Space Cannon RGBW LED fittings being installed on the rooftop cross.
  4.  Lighting levels which elevate the building’s historic architectural assets.
  5.  A comfortable and adaptable lighting environment, easily operable by the priest, choir master and organist.

The solution:

Lighting control was an essential part of the solution for a treasured feature of the church – the detailed stain glass windows. During renovations, the glass lantern of the church tower was restored and a new window by Victoria’s own Geoffrey Wallace was installed above the organ.

Lightmoves programmers used lighting control to ensure the windows of St Peters are automatically illuminated, at the specified levels, as the sun goes down – with the use of the astronomical time clock.

The crown jewels of St Peters are now clearly visible each evening from Toorak Road.  Often the best lighting is that which subtly elevates a space, but these window features are difficult to miss.

The next objective was to provide the client with simple but flexible lighting control, set up for a range of events and easily operable. Lightmoves commissioned the Dynalite Lighting Control System that comprised of DALI, Phase cut and DMX controllers.

The team ensured that lighting control throughout the internal space and external façade of St Peters could be aligned with sacred dates and church events.

This capacity includes DMX control of the RGBW LED lining of the rooftop cross. The LEDs on the cross, for example, were set to turn purple for Advent and red for the Feast of Martyrs, or according to light combinations set for weddings and baptisms. The team spent evenings together with the priest to achieve the desired lighting levels for different scenes and times.

Naturally, lighting for St Peters was designed to elevate the building’s classical features. Lightmoves took care to commission the lighting control and set fixture levels in a manner which makes the most of the building’s grand architecture and lighting design.

The team provided lighting control for the in-ground wash fixtures which were cast up the rugged sandstone façade. Great effort was put in to perfecting control settings for David Bird’s lighting design, which elegantly illuminates the apex ceilings and semi-dome above St Peters’ unique baldacchino.

The lighting team were determined to a set up a comfortable, adaptable and easily operable lighting environment for the priest, choir master & organist.

All of the pre-sets are accessed via the intuitive Dynalite Antumbra Display, which includes a time-clock to ensure the lighting environment shifts into specific moods and modes throughout each day and as the Catholic calendar progresses.

 The outcome:

The team achieved the client’s objectives for St Peters Church.

Lighting design & control transformed the interior, exterior and special features in accordance with the specific needs of the client.

As the sun goes down, lighting control triggers illumination of the stunning stained glass and external cross feature. Dynalite lighting control achieves seamless integration and control for any church member who may need to operate in in future, whether for a choir rehearsal or a Christmas recital.

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