Lake Macquarie in a different light: the Multi-Arts Pavilion

  • Completed2021
  • ClientLake Macquarie City Council
  • Sales PartnerStramac Lighting
  • ArchitectUoN Student Samantha Bailey
  • Electrical EngineerElectrical Projects Australia: Courtney Hunt
  • BuilderLloyd Group Pty Ltd
  • Electrical ContractorCarter & Osborne Electrical
  • Photography and VideographyIP Media

In early 2021, works to build an exciting new state-of-the-art landmark to showcase arts and culture at Lake Macquarie commenced. The initial design concept was born by a University of Newcastle Student Samantha Bailey – whose design was the winning entry into a competition wherein the brief to students in the School of Architecture and Built Environment was to create a visually stunning building that pushed the boundaries of exhibiting art and staging cultural events.

Samantha Bailey’s entry ticked all of the boxes; “Her entry had the most potential to be developed as a significant cultural and arts space for Lake Macquarie. It stood out for its creativity, its thorough understanding of the brief and its potential relationship to the surrounding landscape” according to Lake Macquarie mayor, Cr Kay Fraser. Ms Bailey’s design intended to create a flexible arts space that made the most of its spectacular location. “I wanted to emphasise the beauty of the site, and to create a building that will make people see the lake in a different light,” explained Ms Bailey.

The $2.1 million dollar project saw $1.35 million contributed by the NSW Government through its Regional Cultural Fund, enabling “bold, exciting and diverse” arts and cultural activities in regional NSW” according to the responsible Arts Minister Don Harwin.

A key element of bringing the project to life centred on a comprehensive lighting strategy featuring many different luminaire types, delivered by Electrical Projects Australia (Courtney Hunt), together with Stramac Lighting, WE-EF LIGHTING and electrical contractors Carter and Osborne Electrical.


Some of the key project considerations for bringing the Multi-Arts Pavilion to life included;

– Robustness for marine conditions: With the installation by the lake, the project demanded luminaires with anti-corrosive properties and built to withstand tough environmental conditions
– Warranty and longevity: With a desire for minimal maintenance and luminaires that will last the test of time, a comprehensive warranty was of critical importance
– Quality: With experience in using a range of luminaire brands, Electrical Projects Australia were not willing to compromise on quality and wanted to avoid issues like water ingress that had been experienced with other brands, particularly with inground uplights for the façade
– Precision optics: Precisely placing light where needed to accentuate the architectural features, without glare was important, particularly with the performing stage raised above the spectator area
– Performance and Intensity: Powerful high-output projectors were needed to really saturate the building in intense colour and bring it to life
– Reliability: superior performance with minimal maintenance and downtime to improve long-term cost efficiency and reduce unnecessary outages and labour
– Service support: Electrical Projects Australia knew that in working with Stramac and WE-EF LIGHTING, there would be service support, particularly in internal design renders to showcase the lighting concept to the client

“I wanted to emphasise the beauty of the site, and to create a building that will make people see the lake in a different light”

Samantha Bailey, the Architect


Multi-level site presented several technical challenges to illuminate requiring a variety of luminaires:
– The unusual shape of the building demanded a range of luminaires to effectively accentuate its features
– Multiple levels (higher raised platform stage for performers, lower level for spectators) required careful consideration of luminaire placement and shielding to prevent any glare for anyone
– The external façade material was not just a flat surface; some areas are very 3D with bricks jutting out; lighting needed to consider shadowing
– There was a strong desire to minimise the visual obstruction of poles in the carpark
– Detailed modelling of the building needed to be undertaken at the concept stage to ensure the correct lighting outcome was delivered without obtrusive light to the patient rooms


The special building demanded a range of luminaires including:
– 8 x RFS530 catenary luminaires
– 8 x FLC230-CC projectors mounted on 4 x 6 m poles
– 24 x PSY424 bollards
– 2 x ETC340-CC inground luminaires
– 3 x ETV140-CC linear inground luminaires
– 1 x VFL530 street and area luminaire mounted on a 5 m pole

WE-EF luminaires were the selection of choice by the specifying engineers for a combination of criteria, primarily centred around the proven reliability and longevity of the luminaires, having specified them before and understanding the 10-year warranty and service support that is assured.

Being by the water also bolstered the selection, with the WE-EF luminaires being made from marine grade aluminium with ultra-low copper content (<0.1%), together with the renowned 5CE+ Primer anti-corrosion coating system ensuring the tough conditions of a coastal or marine environment is a non-issue.

Specifically, the range of luminaires was chosen to highlight and illuminate different areas. The FLC230-CC series of high-performance precision projectors were chosen for their ability to “illuminate and highlight the entire Pavilion from all corners”, with intense saturation and only 8 luminaires (on 4 poles), according to Gavin Macrae of Stramac Lighting.

RFS530 catenaries and PSY424 ADSA Approved bollards provide safety and amenity for bike pathways and walkways.

Strategically placed inground uplights help to direct light up the façade in a controlled manner; the ETC340-CC ingrounds illuminate the side wall/overhang visible from the lake while the ETV140-CC linear ingrounds illuminate the North Wall Visual/Morse Code/Soundscape Integrated Art Works. According to Courtney Hunt of Electrical Projects Australia, when it comes to inground luminaires, the choice was simple “if specifying a project needing luminaires in the ground, and you want it to last, we choose WE-EF or it’s a maintenance headache”.

Minimising the visual obstruction of multiple luminaires in the carpark was achieved with just one VFL530 being required to effectively illuminate the area.


During the lighting design scoping phase, WE-EF LIGHTING provided technical lighting design service support in creating internal design renders, that Stramac and Electrical Projects Australia could then showcase to the client and key stakeholder, Lake Macquarie City Council.

Ultimately, the exciting arts and culture Pavilion was brought to life with a comprehensive multifaceted lighting strategy delivered by Electrical Projects Australia (Courtney Hunt), together with Stramac Lighting, WE-EF LIGHTING and electrical contractors Carter and Osborne Electrical, to beautifully enhance the wow factor of the bold, creative art and culture enriched landmark.

September, 2023