Mossley Hill Church

Location Liverpool, United Kingdom
Services Lighting design
Sector Lifestyle
Client Mossley Hill Church
Architect Studio: Plan A

Andrew Bissell

T +44 (0)161 244 5660

Cundall's lighting design team was commissioned by Mossley Hill Church to design and detail a new lighting installation for the refurbishment of their chapel. The brief was to deliver a scheme which offered a variety of lighting scenes to suit the multiple uses of the space. The parishioners use the space for prayer meetings, readings, group discussion, sewing and stitching banners. The lighting design was to also deliver significant energy savings to the church.

For many years, the Church had illuminated the space using cheap outdoor flood and spotlight luminaires, one of which was a B&Q type multi-head dichroic fitting mounted to a piece of wood suspended against the wall. Needless to say, not only was this incredibly inefficient and a complete distraction from the architecture of the space, the lighting was imbalanced and resulted in confusing shadows across the space, making it extremely difficult to use as a functional space. In addition to this was a combination of an antique 2 x 120W RO80 reflector spotlights wall mounted within the rear corners of the space. The final lighting element to be replaced was a collection of 4x100W incandescent light bulbs surface mounted to the high level beams illuminating the central altar. The existing load was 690W.

The lighting design approach was to rebalance the space with layers of symmetrical light, picking up the key architectural elements and historic features which defined the architectural character of the building and space. Architecture practice Studio:plan A had previously been commissioned to design a glazed intervention wall between the main church hall and chapel, providing some intimacy, thermal comfort control and an acoustic separation. The lighting design highlighted the intervention by illuminating the monolithic pillars and vast stone arch which towered above the glazed entrance door.

Moving through into the prayer room, the central window above the altar formed a key part of the overall lighting scheme. Fundamentally, the window formed the point of symmetry from which the lighting design was developed. The principle was to highlight the window from creating the visual backdrop for the layered lighting approach. This helped to extenuate its height and grandeur of the space and ensure its symbolic nature was clearly defined. Cool white LEDs were specified for the threshold entrance arch and central window arch as they reflected each other’s form and importance.

The central altar mural was to be illuminated by a carefully integrated linear LED profile. The LEDs dramatically enhanced the murals' brightness and visibility, improving the colour contrast of the mural artwork and creating a warm glow from within the altar.

Please click here to view the architectural lighting design profile for Mossley Hill Church.


  • Lighting Design Awards 2014, Heritage, Highly Commended

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Established in the UK 40 years ago, Cundall has developed into an international multi-disciplinary consultancy operating from over 20 locations across the globe.