An exciting new venue to enhance the teaching and learning experience at Durham University


Zumtobel Group’s lighting brands Zumtobel and Thorn have supplied an energy efficient lighting scheme for Durham University’s new Teaching and Learning Centre at the Lower Mountjoy Building, a new £40 million construction that offers students the ideal space to study. Zumtobel and Thorn have supplied a wide range of luminaires for the project, both internally and externally, providing LED energy efficiency, an excellent working environment and improved colour rendition.

The Lower Mountjoy Building lies near to Durham City Centre conservation area. The Teaching and Learning Centre includes lecture theatres, classrooms, seminar rooms, catering facilities, an education laboratory, breakout spaces and student learning zones, with great amenities and top-of-the-range digital equipment. The building consists of 12 modular blocks and provides a transition between the modern university buildings nearby and the more traditional and classical architecture of the adjacent buildings. Up to 1,600 students can be taught at the centre, which has spaces for individual and collaborative study, nearly 200 computer laboratory spaces and an experimental education laboratory to trial new learning methods.


Many of the areas have concrete ceilings so the lighting had to integrate with acoustic rafts. Zumtobel’s LINCOR was selected as the best lighting solution. LINCOR pendant LED luminaires are suspended from the concrete ceilings to deliver high visual comfort from superior direct/indirect illumination with no reflected glare. More importantly, thanks to the central part from which no light is emitted downwards, the luminaire meets the highest demands regarding contrast rendition, even when placed directly above the workstation. This avoids annoying reflections on glossy surfaces and is therefore ideally suited for working on tablet devices and computers.

Zumtobel’s SUPERSYSTEM II multifunctional LED modules for low voltage track have been utilised in the restaurant/dining area and track mounted DISCUS spotlights in the main atrium. This SUPERSYSTEM II slim-profile LED spotlight track system for low-voltage lighting applications, is 1 inch wide and provides a full range of lighting options for general, accent, direct, indirect, and wall-washing applications in lumen packages up to 1,250 lumens. DISCUS is a state-of-the-art spotlight system, its delicate but robust design is creatively inspired by cutting-edge LED technology: a flat, minimalist shape with an unmistakable appearance – characterised by the radial fins of the passive heatsink and its illuminated replaceable optic.

The brief for the offices required recessed luminaires with good cylindrical and horizontal illumination that could be installed in various ceiling types, whilst more aesthetically pleasing than a basic flat panel. Thorn’s IQ Wave provided the ideal solution to support comfort, alertness and happiness by taking into consideration the variety of different functions, forms of communication and the physical nature of modern learning spaces. The ideal classroom light distribution is achieved with the help of a special reflector and ensures perfect light for various tasks, the general space and the different forms of personal communication between teachers and pupils. IQ Wave achieves a unified glare rating of <19, in line with the EN 12464 standard on workplace lighting.

Thorn’s Chalice, with a high efficacy of 106lm/W for low energy consumption and less than 100mm in height, illuminates the circulation areas.

Thorn’s Duoproof, a durable high bay luminaire offering performance, high-tech appearance and flexibility, illuminates the kitchen and Aquaforce Pro is installed throughout the plant areas.

The exterior of the facility had to be lit sympathetically to deal with the ever-changing landscape and Thorn’s Piazza LED was the perfect solution for providing accent illumination with a touch of style for the perimeter. As a versatile lighting system for decorative area and path lighting, the extensive Urban Deco family from Thorn, which includes post, pendant lighting and bollard luminaires, illuminates the pathway entrance bollards and the 3 – 5 metre columns for the pathways, along with recessed LINN around the edge of the footpath close to the building.

With a diverse range of world-class environments, the Lower Mountjoy Centre is an exciting new venue to enhance the teaching and learning experience at Durham University, the efficiency of the chosen luminaires helped the new facility to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of A.

So, far the reaction from students has been really positive.

For more information on Zumtobel please visit the website and for Thorn

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