Building The Ark
March 22, 2018

Building The Ark

What do a popular classical music show in London, an international swimming competition in Budapest, an outdoor rock concert in Belgium and a new church in a tiny village in England have in common? Simply: all have benefited from the use of CAST Software’s wysiwyg lighting design toolkit. 
With three churches already serving its population of 2,300, it’s perhaps surprising that one of them is building a new one in the Fenland Village of Isleham in Cambridgeshire. However: the congregation of High Street Church outgrew their existing chapel; determined to continue serving a growing congregation, they faced the necessity of a larger building.

In 2009, they began construction of The Ark, which, at 2,200 square meters, is believed to be one of the UK’s largest green oak buildings constructed in living memory. Now fully weather-proof, it is expected to be completed in the not-too-distant future.

But, where does wysiwyg come in? Jonny Billitt from event production and equipment hire company MTS Live, and a committed wysiwyg user for more “typical” lighting design applications, takes up the story.

“Designers and builders from the project initially contacted me for advice regarding the uplighting,” he explains. ”The main design requirements were to up-light the Hammer beams and room extremities, also achieving a good ambient lighting level. Wysiwyg was initially used to import building CADs and overlay installation schematics for the inground uplighters as the floor was being laid and the cabling needed to be in place. The building render and subsequent lighting design went from there. Using wysiwyg, I was able to demonstrate the concept using the 360-export feature, exhibiting the suggested fixtures and how they would realistically luminate the building.”

The 360° render of the interior of The Ark that Billitt created with wysiwyg is fantastically impressive, with its exquisite details to the architecture and lighting. The new building’s complex frame is traditional in inspiration and design, constructed entirely from green oak tastefully brought to life in the render with a subtle yet impacting lighting design.

Billitt used both Release 39 and the recently announced Release 40 of wysiwyg to create both the schematics and the higher-resolution 360º panoramas. The new release introduces security improvements to help protect user investment, along with a host of invaluable new features guided by the principle that “the devil is in the detail.”

For example: wysiwyg always hung fixtures on a default clamp length. However, since not all fixtures are hung with the same hardware, a new fixture property has been added to enable users to accurate portray final trim heights. In a similar vein, the Pipe and Drape Wizard has been updated to include some new functionality and options, allowing them to be more accurately specified and thus rendered.
Users requested a new feature that allowed them to control Light Emission for objects in Design mode, allowing for objects with light emitting properties to be dynamically controlled with Looks, as they can be with DMX in Live mode: this functionality has been implemented.

 A new Rigging Point object has been added to CAD mode, to identify hang points for the temporary rigging for lighting designs. A Rigging Point can be represented by different symbols depending on their purpose and properties.
 Among the new features of wysiwyg Release 40 is additional functionality for the software’s Truss Manager, allowing color type and color to be added, enabling each truss piece to be color-coded and named for easy visual identification on drawings. It’s hard to believe it was intended to be used for the oak trusses, beams and posts, from which The Ark is constructed.