Lighting Design Award Winner – St. Mortiz Church

by / Tuesday, 06 January 2015 / Published in Blog, Lighting
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St. Moritz Church,  in Augsburg, Germany, dates back to 1019. During it’s millennial existence the church has endured through centuries of warfare, devastating fires, bombs and liturgical practice. At the end of the second world war, German architect Dominikus Böhm oversaw its rebuilding.

The team of London-based designer John Pawson and London-based lighting design firm Mindseye Lighting have sought to bring clarity and light to the building’s interiors while being mindful of it’s history and the work of the previous architects.


In keeping with the minimalist aesthetic of their teammate Pawson, Mindseye developed a scheme that uses illumination to help define the architectural volumes and bring out the subtle textures found in the material palette of wood, stone, and plaster. A visitor notices the quality of light, not the fixtures themselves. Furthermore, Mindseye employed a dynamic white-light scheme that enables most of the luminaires in the church to change from warm (2700K) to neutral (4000K) white light. It also serves as the design mechanism by which natural light and electric light are coordinated; warm-white color temperatures are prevalent during evening Mass and neutral-white is used during the day.

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The main nave spans 29.5 feet wide by 108 feet long. Clerestory windows let in natural light, while a series of side arches and cove-lit domes lead the visitor’s eye to the altar and the far wall beyond it, which features a Baroque figure of Christ. The sculpture is backlit, as well as highlighted from the front by two 150W metal halide spotlights. The altar is illuminated by 10 projector luminaires placed behind the dome lip.

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The use of white light provides an elegant, subtle illumination throughout the church, one that creates an experiential understanding of light as it corresponds to the different services and ceremonies that take place both each day and through the seasons.

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