Aspire Tower wears LED lighting skin designed by KSLD

Jan. 10, 2007
Nearly 4000 color-changing LED luminaires have been installed in a unique cladding system designed by KSLD for Aspire Tower in Doha, Qatar.
The exterior lighting scheme for Aspire Tower in the Sports City in Doha, Qatar was inaugurated at the opening of the Asian Games on December 1, 2006.

The 300-meter tower has a unique lighting skin that was designed by Kevan Shaw Lighting Design (KSLD) and contains almost 4000 tri-color LED luminaries – see KSLD unveils LED lighting skin for Qatar tower (July 2006).

KSLD won an international design competition for the project in September 2005. The project team is led by a joint venture between two contractors, Midmac and Sixco. The team delivered a 300-metre tower in 15 months from commencement of ground works to structural and cladding completion, incorporating the external lighting designed by KSLD and an Olympic flame with a world record height of 12m at the top of the tower.

The lighting scheme consists of a grid of nearly 4000 three-colour LED luminaries individually addressed to allow animated patterns to be played across the tower’s skin. The luminaries were designed in conjunction with Solar GB to provide high visible brightness through the principal viewing area below the horizontal with upward light spill minimised to reduce light pollution.

Each unit uses six 1-watt Luxeon LEDs from Philips Lumileds that are driven normally at 350mA but also have the ability to pulse at a higher output to create the strobe sparkle effect required by KSLD.

The entire system is controlled by Artistic License’s Colour Tramp software with an extensive Art-Net DMX over Ethernet network that uses high bandwidth fibre-optic cables for vertical distribution on the tower.

The installation of the system was closely coordinated with the construction by Bassam Al Awar, the JV’s MEP project manager. Many time-saving techniques were used to meet program. One example was installing the LED units and wiring on the cladding frames while the frames were on the ground, and then connecting the lights to the cable network as the cladding frames were put in place on the façade.

The façade lighting system uses 200 kilometres of cable to connect the 4000 LED fittings to the 405 power supplies and has taken over 19,000 man hours to install.

The initial graphics for the tower were designed and programmed by KSLD. Additional graphics were created for the opening ceremony of the Asian Games: these were designed by Andrew Doig, the Lighting Designer for the entire opening and closing ceremonies.

After the Asian Games the interior of the tower will be completed to incorporate a hotel, presidential apartment, sports museum, rotating restaurant and a viewing gallery. The gas flame will be removed and KSLD are designing additional lighting for the top of the tower that will include an artificial flame.

Kevan Shaw, principle of KSLD, said: "This project has challenged everyone involved to produce an inspiring building against an incredibly tight and unchangeable deadline. This has been achieved by a dedicated team willing to meet these challenges by creative solution of the inevitable difficulties in such a large construction project. "From my point of view the lighting does not only illuminate the architecture but creates a variable and dynamic form for the building that will allow it to respond uniquely to the many different events that will happen in Sports City."