Dezeen Magazine

LightHive by Alex Haw

LightHive by Alex Haw

LightHive, an installation by Alex Haw, is at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London until 1 June.


The installation consists of a constellation of over 1,000 suspended LEDs, arranged to recreate the position of every light source in the AA building.


Each LED replicates the intensity, colour and direction of the real light sources, combining to form a 1:6 model of the way light plays through the building.


The LEDs are controlled by infra-red cameras, switching on and off and changing in intensity in response to changes in light use throughout the building.


Full details below:


Architectural Association School of Architecture
36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES
Information 020 7887 4145

Alex Haw
LightHive: Luminous Architectural Surveillance
30 April to 1 June 2007
AA Front Members’ Room


LightHive transforms the Georgian splendour of the AA’s Front Members’ Room into a dynamic and immersive constellation, a gigantic lighthouse broadcasting the activity of the School through its enormous piano nobile windows to the world beyond.

The geometry of the AA’s entire collection of real estate is compressed as a 1:6 model to fit into the exhibition space, the building represented purely by the light sources that enable it to function. The precise position, intensity, function and colour temperature of each and every fixture is co-located within this single room, the geometries of their original surroundings generating 2,100 unique shapes that are custom designed, scripted and then lasercut especially for the show by Zumtobel.

Each of the 160 cellular zones that compose the building is laced with a range of sensors, from door contacts to seat sensors, infar-red detectors to IP cameras, which are then wired back across the network to the luminous sky of the exhibition space. Activity triggers a signal to a central processing unit, activating one or more of the 1000 bespoke LED, spilling light into the room.

The space thus operates like a three-dimensional x-ray of the building’s activity, a kind of constantly updating surround-light CCTV, a spatial model of the entire school’s performance fluctuating over the course of hours, days and weeks. The lights transgress the boundaries of the windows, shifting the exhibition’s location from inside to out, democratising the normal privacy of a gallery.

A customised website not only allows online users to browse a historical log of the school’s activity and pry on the school’s activity via webcams, but also feeds the exhibit with information from the accumulating database, playing back stored sequences as timelapse reviews interspersed amongst the moments of real-time tracking, supplementing the formation of space with the shape of time

LightHive has been conceived and designed by Alex Haw, Unit Master of Diploma Unit 13 at The Architectural Association. He also runs Atmos, an experimental collaborative practice combining installations, videos, built private work and speculative public projects.

Open to the public from Monday 30 April to Friday 1 June 2007
Opening times Monday to Friday 10.00am–7.00pm; Saturday 10.00am–3.00pm