Aotea Square

Auckland, New Zealand

Project Description

LDP Ltd was engaged to enhance Aotea Square at night time as one of Auckland’s premier public spaces with a lighting design that complies with CPTED principles to create a safe and inviting space.


Auckland Council initially provided the following brief to LDP:

  • To enhance Aotea Square at night time as one of Auckland’s premier public spaces.
  • To project a safe and inviting appearance and comply with CPTED principles.
  • To integrate with the landscape architecture and many features within the square, e.g. Aotea Centre entrance, car park entries, link to Bledisloe Lane and Queen St, the Town Hall façade.
  • To provide visual guidance to pedestrians, whilst entering and also when in the Square.
  • Consider sustainable practices in equipment selection.
  • The lighting control is to integrate with the existing lighting controls of Aotea Centre and the Town Hall so as to use the lighting of the square with the various events that were planned for the space.

LDP investigated a number of options for Auckland Council to light the Square. These investigations examined a variety of luminaires, lamp technologies, power supply alternatives, sustainable elements and colour changing projection lighting for festivities.

Project Brief

LDP investigated a number of options for Auckland Council to light the Square. These investigations examined a variety of luminaires, lamp technologies, power supply alternatives, sustainable elements and colour changing projection lighting for festivities.

This resulted in a decision by Council to proceed with a combination of metal halide discharge luminaires for the key pedestrian lighting and sustainable LED luminaires for lighting the majority of the feature elements. (At the time of the design the available LED technology was not sufficient for high power lighting solutions, e.g. area lighting and large facades).

Budget and building restrictions were imposed during the design process due to unforeseen costs arising with the underground car park immediately below the Square. This limited the number of luminaires for feature lighting and imposed depth restrictions for installation of poles and in-ground luminaires. This resulted in reducing the number of luminaires illuminating feature trees, and eliminating the planned colour changing projector lighting.

The existing luminaires mounted on the Town Hall façade were to remain. New in-ground luminaires were permitted but the large amount and location of, underground services adjacent to the Town Hall restricted the placement of in-ground luminaires.


Lighting Concept

Working with the landscape architect for the Square and main architect for the Aotea Centre we ensured that all luminaires were concealed wherever possible and integrated into the various structures and features as much as possible. The intention was for the emphasis to be for the featured elements and structures to be seen, i.e. the effects of the lighting being seen rather than the luminaires.

The main lighting columns incorporated a playful colour changing LED strip incorporated within the base section of each column to add a sense of vibrancy and interest.


We wanted to provide a lighting solution that projected the space as a liveable and inviting place to be and not just another public space based purely on satisfying minimum lux levels.

Lighting has been designed to tactfully guide those patrons “passing through” the Square and to provide a pleasant and relaxing place for patrons who wish to linger, meet and socialise.

All lighting within the Square can be controlled and integrated to provide additional features for the various events held in the Square, i.e. the event and public lighting is seen as one coordinated show.

Working with the architect we were able to provide the lighting for the stairs leading to the underground car park with no light sources being visible.


The selected luminaire for the pedestrian area lighting was the ERCO Parscoop 70 watt metal halide version with a forward asymmetric throw and neutral cool colour temperature. The mounting height for the luminaires is 6m.

Using this luminaire enabled the minimum number of lights and poles for pedestrian areas due to the extensive forward projection of the light distribution.

The neutral white light provided a clear differentiation between the general pedestrian “safety” lighting and the warm temperature and saturated colour lighting used for the various features.

Coloured lighting was used to accentuate and identify the underground car park pedestrian entrances.

Warm white was used to accentuate the feature trees within the park and to highlight the Aotea Centre Steps and the pathway linking Aotea Centre with the Town Hall.

As well as the pedestrian circulation areas, cool white was used under the Aotea Centre canopies to add a sense of vibrancy.

Placing the luminaires within the steps leading up to Aotea Centre entrance provided clear visual guidance to patrons as well as a strong feature element.

Design Criteria

The design has met all of the design criteria for a Cat P7 in the designated pedestrian circulation and through traffic areas.

Check measurements have been taken confirming that the initial values relating to these calculations have been achieved.

The lighting in the remaining public areas provides a pleasant and relaxing ambience and excellent visual guidance, thereby meeting the design brief.

Visual Comfort

Glare is the most important element to consider for Visual Comfort. The luminaires used for Aotea Square have all been selected and located to minimise glare, i.e. from normal viewing directions the effects of the light are seen rather than the light sources. All pole mounted lights project the light below the horizontal plane at zero tilt.

The pedestrian area luminaires use white light with a neutral colour temperature of 4300K and a CRI of 90. With the placement and aiming of the luminaires combined with the contrasting colours, the resulting effect is indeed visually very comfortable as proven by the positive feedback and support from the public.

Energy Effectiveness

The highly efficient projection of the ERCO pedestrian luminaires means that for this application we were able to use a lower system wattage and less luminaires and poles than would have been required for an equivalent alternative luminaire.

The only other metal halide lamps used comprised of 35 watt and 20 watt ratings. All other luminaires contained low energy LED sources resulting in a fraction of the energy consumption compared to halogen and metal halide sources which were predominantly used for these applications at the time of our design for Aotea Square.

The installation utilises the most efficient product available on the market at the time with the equipment features and colour temperature chosen.

The lighting is controlled to automatically switch off non-essential lighting outside of the designated ‘peak’ use times.

Operation and Maintenance

The system operation is fully automatic through a lighting control system controlled from within the Aotea Centre and/or the Town Hall. This system can also be manually over-ridden for events and then be controlled through a sound and light desk controlled by the event organisers.

The system is low maintenance. The LED lamps, electronics, and columns are all estimated to have a service life in the order of 15 years. The only components that should require replacement are the metal halide discharge lamps, which have a nominal 3 year life.

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