TouchBase Pears, Birmingham

Sense, a national charity that supports deafblind people or those who have sensory impairments, appointed renowned architects Glenn Howells to design a building that puts humans at the heart of the design.. TouchBase Pears is both pioneering and innovative. The £10 million project was undertaken under the JCT Design and Build Contract 2011 and was funded by many contributors including Birmingham City Council, the Arts Council, various charitable trusts and individual private donations.

Glenn Howells, together with the engineering design team recognised a integrated approach to the lighting was essential. Signature of the architects attention to detail, the luminaires had to be clean and low profile yet of optimum performance with particular attention to visual discomfort and contrast. Glenn Howells chose Spectral Lighting’s Stora Pendant and surface versions (Stora P and Stora RP) with its innovative diamond opal lens structure for optimal glare control. Careful consideration was given to the contrast of the frames so a textured silver finish that complimented the finished concrete surfaces was chosen. Testament to this is feedback from visitors; many comment on facilities, the space, the attention to detail and feeling of well being in the building.

Neat attention to detailing included a combined transparent coated power and control cable for every luminaire and a neat flush cable entry point into the concrete slab. The luminaires were supplied with extended pre wired cables so no visible connections could be seen. Power and control is built into the body of the Stora Luminaire which eradicates the need to find space for power supplies and control devices. It also allows enhanced accessibility for future maintenance. Further enhancing the integration model, emergency lighting is also built in to the Stora structure.

Architect: Glenn Howells Architects
M&E Engineers: ESC UK
Contractors: Rotary Building Services Limited
Client: Touch (Charity funded by many contributors including Birmingham City Council, the Arts Council, various charitable trusts and individual private donations.

See further details at Glenn Howells web site
https://glennhowells.co.uk/project/touchbase-pears/

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