Interior Lighting Design for the Holy Rosary Church, Bangkok

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Phanchalath Suriyothin


Lighting design is an important element in spirituality in architecture from the past to the present. Places of worship have existed long before electric lighting and were designed for meaningful daylight orientation and the controlled use of fire and candlelight.

Currently there are new activities held in churches, such as concerts and wedding ceremonies that need different types of atmospheric lighting. Modern application of lighting design and spirituality are explored in a case study of the Holy Rosary Church in Bangkok. A design concept of various lighting scenes was introduced to provide maximum effect and flexibility while still performing its primary function in a place of worship. 

Interior lighting in churches, both daylight and electric light, is a crucial element that can considerably enhance the atmosphere within the building during various ceremonies. It offers tranquility and reinforces the faith leading Christians towards God.

Since the reign of King Rama V, the Holy Rosary Church possesses both historical and architectural significance. It is one of the historic churches in Thailand of which original architectural elements remain largely intact. With its setting on the bank of Chao Phraya River, the Church is frequently visited by both local and foreign visitors throughout the year.

As the Church has undergone many restorations throughout the one hundred and twenty years of its history, its lighting system has changed extensively from the original. At present, the activities of the church are
more diversified, and there is a rise in the frequency of usage for events in addition to the Holy Mass and other religious ceremonies. There have been various requirements and methods of lighting over time. The purpose of this research and the project to design the interior lighting for the Holy Rosary Church addresses the existing worn-out light systems and the lack of suitable, up to date controlling systems. 

The following process was used for this research: generating a study of the church’s history, making a survey of the existing building, assessing existing light fixtures and conditions, measuring lighting performance, the studying lighting design guidelines and concepts, and designing and installing light systems, light controls
and equipment as well as evaluating users’ satisfaction levels.


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How to Cite
Suriyothin, P. (2016). Interior Lighting Design for the Holy Rosary Church, Bangkok. Nakhara : Journal of Environmental Design and Planning, 12, 149–164. Retrieved from
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