Planning light for monumental buildings, ,

Planning light for monumental buildings

When illuminating large-area facades, it is important to think on a large scale not only in terms of simulation and visualisation. Creative solutions are also required for the luminaire mounting locations - thus enabling the challenges of the building dimensions to be mastered.

Efficiently presenting and showcasing large buildings in urban areas requires special concepts, methods and tools. To externally illuminate monumental landmarks in their entirety would require a disproportionate amount of energy. The alternative is to concentrate on the effective surfaces and architectural features within the urban space - as with illumination of the Milan Cathedral. For pedestrians for example the lighting in the lower area is relevant. The upper floors and an illuminated roof make a building visible on the skyline.

Planning light for monumental buildings

Since partial mockups for large buildings can hardly provide a representative overall impression, light simulations are indispensable for checking suitable light distributions and illuminances.

Three aspects are relevant for lighting the facade of large buildings:

1. Simulation or mockup: a partial mockup with only a few projectors hardly conveys a representative impression with such dimensions. For this reason, the use of light simulations, enabling a complete view from different perspectives, is particularly useful for large buildings.

2. Overcoming distance: to illuminate from long distances, projectors with very narrow, precise light beams are needed. In this way, light pollution can also be kept to a minimum. Even a narrow spot with 6° light beam generates a light of 10m diameter at a distance of 100m.

3. Appropriate brightness: lighting levels usual in interiors are too high for outdoor applications. At night, illuminances below 100lx are often sufficient in an urban context, especially on bright surfaces.

Planning light for monumental buildings

Luminaires with very narrow beam angles are suitable for the precise illumination of facades from long distances. Different light distributions make it possible to respond individually to the form of the facade.

Planning light for monumental buildings
Planning light for monumental buildings

Photography: Timm Lange

Correct positioning of luminaires

Bei der Frage nach geeigneten Standorten für Leuchten bieten sich bei großen Gebäuden im Allgemeinen drei Positionen an: am Gebäude selbst, auf Masten im Straßenraum sowie auf benachbarten Bauwerken. Beleuchtung, die direkt an der Fassade montiert ist, eignet sich für Streiflicht, das die Textur der Oberfläche betont. Bei terrassierten Gebäuden lassen sich die Leuchten auf den Rücksprüngen anordnen. Die Fassade wird so segmentweise und gleichmäßiger beleuchtet. Bestehende Masten im Straßenraum eignen sich, um insbesondere den unteren Gebäudebereich mit breiten Lichtverteilungen auszuleuchten. Für die oberen Gebäudebereiche sind dagegen hohe Montagepunkte von Vorteil. Diese stehen meistens nur auf benachbarten Gebäuden zur Verfügung und weisen daher meist große Distanzen zur Fassade auf. Eine optimale Ausleuchtung von großen Bauwerken erfordert den intelligenten Einsatz von Leuchten mit sehr unterschiedlichen Lichtverteilungen. Bei einer mittleren Entfernung ist eine asymmetrische Wandfluter-Lichtverteilung zur gleichmäßigen Ausleuchtung nützlich. Für vertikale Architekturdetails eignet sich auch eine ovale Lichtverteilung.

Planning light for monumental buildings

Luminaires installed on the facade create grazing light and thus intense contrasts between light and shadow. Even small projections in the façade can generate extremely long shadows. Surfaces to a height of approximately 6m can be easily emphasised with grazing light.

Planning light for monumental buildings

Large recesses make it possible to accentuate the facade in gradations. Due to the greater distance to the facade, the shadow effect of relieflike surface structures is not as extreme as with grazing light.

Planning light for monumental buildings

To illuminate high facades uniformly it is advisable to increase the distance between the facade and the luminaires. Wallwashers on masts can thus illuminate a façade with a height of about 30m at a distance of 10m from the building.

Planning light for monumental buildings

To illuminate the upper areas of very high buildings the luminaires must be positioned at long distances. The facade can be precisely illuminated with very narrow light distributions, thus also avoiding light pollution.

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