Glasgow Necropolis

Services: Lighting Design, Lead consultant
Overview: Exterior landscape and monument lighting
Completed: 2003

An elegant and curious lighting scheme in the Glasgow Necropolis, a rambling Victorian cemetery that is the backdrop to the Cathedral Precinct.

Glasgow’s hilltop Necropolis, dominated by the John Knox monument (1825), provides a dramatic backdrop to the Cathedral. The John Knox Monument and Monteath Mausoleum now feature strongly in the night-time environment. Lighting for both monuments has different interpretations for near and long view. Only the top sections of each structure can be seen from a distance, and these are given emphasis. Softer, more intricate detailing in the lighting and landscaping has been included for viewers close by. The John Knox monument is a natural focal point for lighting and is counterbalanced from the western perspective by the Monteath Mausoleum on the south west edge of the cemetery.

The lighting design aims to dramatically and simply light these two structures with minimal daytime intrusion into the historic park setting. A mixture of natural materials and high technology lighting equipment is used to deliver the design, complementing the existing memorials and providing robust and sustainable engineering for the lighting scheme.

The John Knox Monument features classical up-lighting and an improved landscape setting. The base of the John Knox Monument has been landscaped, with recessed light fittings set in to natural stone paving illuminating inscriptions on the monument. Floodlights at the base of the column help ground the statue in the Necropolis and avoid the appearance that the statue is floating above the hilltop. Accurate floodlights at the foot of the statue complete the scheme.

The Monteath Mausoleum has basic floodlighting for the top section, and an array of recessed fibre optic light points set into natural stone paving surrounding the monument. The fibre optic lighting is animated with an intriguing flicker, almost as if the light was falling on to the monument through the boughs of a gently swaying tree, or evocative of candlelight. The fibre optic lighting is continued on the street side of the mausoleum within a bespoke railing modelled on the existing perimeter railings of the cemetery. Lost architectural detail at the base of the mausoleum, uncovered during installation of the lighting scheme, has been incorporated in to the new designs.

The infrastructure of the lighting scheme includes additional capacity for further lighting in the Necropolis which may be adopted at a later time. There is over half a kilometre of cable servicing the lighting, all of which is carefully installed in hand dug trenches that avoid sensitive areas within the site.

The entire lighting scheme uses less than 2.5Kw in power.

Next Project
A live event during lockdown
2020 Visions