is able to travel forwards and backwards through the
course of a day in 15-minute increments, from sunrise
to sunset. They can experience how the sunlight would
have entered the room and travelled through the space.
We purposefully chose to show this experience over
the winter solstice ( 21 December) as this is when the
sun is at its lowest point in the UK, hence we get the
shortest day. There is also a beguiling change in the
colour temperature of the light entering the building,
where it is very warm as the sun rises, shifting to a blue
colour as we reach midday, and then back to the warm
hues as the dusk skies arrive in the late afternoon.
Following on from the daylight experience, the viewer
reaches the evening point when it is almost pitch
black inside. The scene then changes to show what a
modern electric lighting scheme, designed by Dominic
Meyrick, might look like if the space still existed. The
viewer has the control necessary to switch the main
lighting components on and off, and can experiment
with different lighting treatments to create varied
effects across the architecture. For example, with all
the lighting on, we can see the grandeur of the interior,
or by just selecting the feature lighting we can create a
more intimate feel, enclosing the space.
With the 3D base model provided by the organisers of
Project Soane, we had to fill in the missing architectural
detailing. This was achieved by researching and cross-
analysing the images, sketches and archive photos that
we could find of the original Consols Transfer Office.
The truth is that nobody can really say definitively
how the space looked, as Soane changed elements of
the architecture during the long construction period.
We would often find an element appearing in one
sketch or photo, only to discover it absent or altered
in another. However, despite this challenge we were
happy with the resulting highly detailed 3D model
and the accuracy of our representation of the space.
We also used lighting software to run daylight and
artificial lighting calculations to help to verify that
the sun-path and light levels in the VR experience
portrayed a realistic representation.
Before the days of computers, Soane had a highly
developed understanding of the relationship between
building, sky, sun, and window size and position. This
developed daylight ‘gut instinct’ can be clearly seen
when the Consols Transfer Office model was imported
into daylight design software and a simple Average
Daylight Factor (ADF) calculation run. The relevant
British Standard states that ‘For spaces with an average
daylight factor > 5 per cent then electric lighting
Opposite, above and following pages: the 3D visualisations. To create
an accurate model it was necessary to fill in missing architectural
detailing, a task that required painstaking research and was made all
the harder by Soane’s own changes and refinements over time