Illuminating historic buildings is always a unique, fascinating and exciting challenge. Each building has a unique story and characteristics. In the case of San Salvador Monastery it is the architectural composition, the material and textures of the spire and tower, the characteristic colour, and its being an integral part of the landscape of ancient Jerusalem.

San Salvador Monastery – “San Salvador”, in Spanish “The Holy Savior”, is located on St. Francis Street in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. This is a Franciscan monastery, which has been documented in this location dating back to the mid-16th century. Today, the monastery includes a residence for monks, a school, a library and publishing house, workshops and a winery. We were asked to illuminate the tower, the spire and the clock, which adorn the skyline of Jerusalem.

Due to the strength of the structure, its height, and the age of some of the stones (over 300 years), it was necessary to present technical solutions for cabling and installation of lighting fixtures so as not to damage the contour and appearance of the structure during the day, providing the desired effect at dusk and night.

With the help of lighting, we created accents for the architectural contours at the bottom of the tower, as well as the wooden windows and shutters.

We highlighted the different elements – the pairs of pilasters, their capitals, the biblical inscription engraved around the structure in Latin: “Lauda Jerusalem Dominum Lauda Deum tuum Sion” praising Jerusalem, while considering the illuminated angles and light level appropriate to each and every one of them.

The clock at the top of the tower had already been illuminated from the inside. We improved and renewed the interior lighting, and also illuminated it from the inside outwards. Our great challenge was to illuminate the rounded stone surrounding the clock, to highlight and emphasize it, without diminishing the effect of the back light of the clock itself.

Illuminating the roof spire posed still another challenge. The dark copper roof, with its four triangular-shaped wings, provides an iconic image for visitors to the area of ZAHAL Square in Jerusalem. We used light fixtures with a narrow beam in a suitable shade, hidden on the sides of the clock, emphasizing the material and texture unique to the spire.

The San Salvador Tower is an essential part of the skyline greeting people coming from the direction of Safra Square in the city.

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