BUILDING AUTOMATION SYSTEMS was involved with the restoration of the Campanile Memorial in Port Elizabeth. The project was aimed at restoring this well-known landmark, in line with the continuing urban regeneration of the Port Elizabeth CBD.
Built in 1923 and, after years of decay, the Campanile received a R20-million facelift and was officially reopened in August 2017. The facelift includes a 23-bell carillon weighing 17 tons, with a special, computerised, purpose-built, electro-mechanical, bell-ringing system from BA Systems that is connected to LED lights. The revamp was driven by Albrecht Herholdt from The Matrix Urban Designers and Architects under instruction from the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) and main contractor, Ibhayi Contracting cc.
Building Automation Systems was responsible for the supply, installation and programming of the architectural lighting and bell control systems. The new systems were to enable programmable control of the bells and lights, including the ability to play melodies on special occasions.
As an exceptional innovation, the Campanile Memorial now boasts Ghost Bells. The Ghost Bells are lights that replicate the carillon bells. When the carillon is playing a melody or chime, the corresponding Ghost Bells will light up. To further enhance this feature, a stainless steel keyboard is positioned below the Ghost Bells, allowing members of the public to press the keys and watch the corresponding Ghost Bells light up, thereby enriching the visitors’ experience.
The challenges faced included:
- Working within reduced project budgets
- Conforming with architectural requirements
- Adding electronics to the 100 year old carillon keyboard
- Programming the MIDI system to work with the carillon
- Setting the MIDI to play the carillon at the correct speed and intensity
- Changing the original lighting concept to stay within the new budget
- Positioning the light fittings in the Belfry for optimal effect
Building Automation Systems was able to overcome these challenges and the end result is a fully automated carillon that plays as scheduled every day, with special melodies such as Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika being played on special occasions. The exterior lights and Belfry lights also come on as programmed every day, creating a magnificent view of the Campanile Memorial at night from the city CBD.
The work that has been done to the historic Campanile in Strand Street, Port Elizabeth is absolutely world class. This evening www.MyPE.co.za got to experience one of the ‘surprises’ of the work done on the bells and keyboard.
THE CAMPANILE MEMORIAL in Port Elizabeth underwent a massive restoration project, as part of the current regeneration of the Port Elizabeth CBD. This project included strengthening the carillon supports, refurbishing the existing carillon bells and adding two additional bells. Extensive work was also carried out on the building, including the installation of a custom made lift.
The project architect, Professor Albrecht Herholdt, focused on restoring existing components to their original condition, while new components were kept modern to make a clear distinction between the new and old fixtures. This meant using stainless steel fixtures that matched the design and modern light fittings to contrast with the original building fixtures.
Building Automation Systems involvement with the project was related to the installation of the new Bell and Lighting Control Systems. While the existing Campanile Memorial carillon bells were being refurbished, two new bells were added to make a full 25 notes. This means a wider range of melodies can be played. To take full advantage of this, the plan was for the carillon to be electronically controlled, while traditionally a carillon is played using a keyboard. To achieve this, electronics were added to the 100 year old keyboard. The challenge here, was ensuring that the electronics incorporated into the keyboard were hidden from view.
Once the electronics were installed, it allowed the carillon to be controlled via software through the use of MIDI controllers, and for the carillon to be played according to a schedule. This schedule can be modified and changed using the software to facilitate special events or occasions. During the programming of the MIDI controllers, the correct keys and speed at which to play the bells had to be determined, to ensure that the melody was clearly audible.
In Level 5 of the Campanile Memorial, there are Ghost Bells that correspond to the bells in the carillon. When the carillon is playing a melody or chime, the Ghost Bell representing the bell will light up. In addition to this, a new stainless steel keyboard was installed and wired to the Ghost Bells that members of the public can use to play a note or melody and see the Ghost Bells light up. Building Automation Systems had to ensure that the correct Ghost Bell lit up when the corresponding key was pressed, or carillon bell chimed.
The original plan for the Campanile Memorial lighting, called for more exterior lights to be fitted around the Campanile Memorial. The initial plans for the building lighting had to be scaled down due to budgetary constraints. In the end, two Exterior Wash 300 light fittings were installed. These lights are programmable and have been scheduled to turn on at night. The light colour can be changed and the angle adjusted to allow for different lighting effects on the side of the building, as may be required for special events and occasions.
In the Belfry, Exterior Linear Graze LED lights were fitted. These lights are also programmable and are set to light up the Belfry at night. The installation of these lights proved quite challenging. The Belfry was fairly exposed during the installation and care had to be taken when working in the Belfry.
Due to the structure, it was also necessary to experiment with the light positions to ensure that an optimal lighting effect was achieved. The default light colour is set to white, but this can be adjusted for special events and occasions.
Design proposal and adaptations made:
The initial lighting design called for twelve uplighters mounted on brackets around the base of the Campanile Memorial and four stainless steel bars on each side to mount the clock face spotlights. Due to cost considerations, this was reduced to two uplighters mounted on a stainless steel bracket on the south west side, and lighting in the Belfry. The choice of stainless steel brackets and modern light fittings was in line with the architect’s concept of making a clear distinction between the new and original fittings.
Incorporation of Electronics:
With the installation of two additional bells, the carillon is able to play a wider range of melodies than before, because there are now two full octaves available. To take full advantage of this, it was decided to utilise MIDI controllers that could play melodies on special occasions and allow for scheduled chimes to be played hourly throughout the day. To enable this, electronics were added to the keyboard. This had to be done carefully to prevent damage to the 100 year old keyboard, and to ensure that the electronics were not visible.
The electronics allow the keyboard to be controlled via the MIDI controllers, which are connected via a network cable. The MIDI Controllers are located in the central control panel which was installed by Building Automation Systems. The control panel also contains the hardware and software that control the lights.
On the fifth floor are the so-called ghost bells. They are real sized replicas in perspective of the bells. The ghost bells are driven by a stainless steel keyboard – so if you press a key it lights up in LEDs. When the real bells play, you see also see the bells light up.
Port Elizabeth was known as the City of Bells by visiting sailors.
Building Automation Systems follows a document control plan to ensure that documents related to each project are handled correctly. Hard copies and electronic copies of all plans and documentation are kept. As the project progresses, the documentation is reviewed to ascertain that we have the latest copies, to ensure that all the project updates and revisions are available to us. Documentation managed includes project plans, contract management, administration, emails, reference documentation, Health and Safety files, and operating handbooks created for the clients.
General Management System:
Building Automation systems is an owner managed business. Due to the nature of the work that we do, it is possible to work with small teams. Each team is led by an Artisan, who oversees the work on-site and liaises with the client or client representative on-site.
The administration was handled by two employees, who managed the orders, purchases, stock control, finances, and health and safety documentation.
Campanile Memorial Lighting System
The Campanile is fitted with a Martin Lighting system from BA Systems. This is a programmable system that allows for a standard lighting schedule to be programmed. Unique lighting effects can also be programmed for special occasions. The M-PC program is used to program the lights.
The Belfry is lit up by the Exterior Linear Graze LED Lights during the night. The default light colour is White, but this can be changed via the M-PC Lighting Pad.
Exterior Wash 300 light fittings are located on one side of the Campanile Memorial to light up the exterior wall. The lights are also programmed to be on at night. They are programmable and the angle can be adjusted, to achieve different lighting effects. This is useful for lighting the Campanile Memorial for special events and occasions.
Campanile Memorial Carillon
The Campanile Memorial Carillon bells have been refurbished and an additional two bells have been added to make a full 25 notes. The Carillon is played using the original refurbished keyboard located on Level 1.
During the refurbishment of the bells, electronics were added to the keyboard. The Carillon can therefore also be controlled via a computer. This allows a full range of music to be played and allows the Carillon to be played according to a schedule. This schedule can be modified and changed using QLab.