Bath Abbey Footprint project is a historic £19.3 million transformation programme of restoration work that will provide contemporary and sustainable solutions to meet the needs of the Abbey.

The initial phase of the Bath Abbey Footprint project was completed in the Spring of 2021, Michael Grubb Studio were appointed in 2013.

The new lighting system plays a major role in revealing and celebrating the Abbey’s unique architectural features, whilst providing flexible scenes for various services and events. The choice of warm, white light evokes an inviting and intimate ambience that acknowledges the Abbey’s status as a place of worship. Simultaneously, the lighting has the capability to create impact via a variety of impressive, dramatically lit scenes for events that the Abbey will be able to utilise for many years to come.

High level lighting located below the clerestory windows pick out the crowns and delicate profiles of the of the fan vaulting, which the Abbey is famous for. Mid level lights reveal the fine Bath Stone forms of the perpendicular gothic window tracery and vaults of the side aisles. The numerous Georgian wall memorials are illuminated by further luminaires located in the side aisles and transepts, which also highlight the fine tombs of Lady Jane Waller and the Bishop James Montague. The cast iron Victorian chandeliers have also been adapted to incorporate new low energy LED luminaires.

The entire lighting system has been upgraded and operates via a new DMX lighting control system, which allows each LED lamp to be individually controlled. This delivers an infinite amount of flexibility and the opportunity to animate lighting during services or for special events.

FCBStudios have led work to stabilise the subsiding floor, an extensive programme of archaeology, installation of a sustainable hot spa water powered underfloor heating system and the documentation, repair and relaying of the 2400 stones in total which pave the floor, including nearly 900 ledger stones. In the coming weeks, the Victorian Corporation Stalls and new furniture will be moved into the Abbey, in readiness to welcome the community back to the church.

The lighting design was developed to enhance and reveal each architectural aspect within the Abbey. The optical distribution of the light source along with its characteristics (such as colour temperature) was selected following tests on site against the various finishes. This includes the historic stone, the wooden detailing and the decorative ceiling bosses.

Sustainable solutions were key to the brief of this restoration project and the new lighting is 50% more efficient than the previous lighting scheme within the Abbey.

The completion of this phase of work is a truly spectacular moment and a major step towards completion of the Footprint Project, which prepares Bath Abbey for the next 100 years. The project enhances the significance of the Abbey, whilst also creating a more flexible building with better facilities. This allows the Abbey to better serve the congregation, the city of Bath and the many visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Additional Design:

Structural Engineers: Mann Williams
Electrical Engineers: Buro Happold
Archaeology: Wessex Archaeology
Main Contractor: Emery Builders
Electrical Contractor: Wheelers
Lighting Control: Enlightened


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