Updating a church for new appeal and efficiency
On the edge of Germany's Black Forest lies picturesque Freiburg. Among the streams and narrow cobble stone streets weaving through the town's medieval architecture, the city exudes an old-fashioned charm. However, it is far from outdated. Freiburg has been hailed a green city, excelling in the most advanced eco-friendly designs in transportation, land conservation, waste management, and energy. In fact, the city's various environmental initiatives helped it win the 2010 European City of the Year Award from the Academy of Urbanism. The title is granted each year to a European city that has greatly improved their economic, social, and physical environment.
After sustaining heavy damage in World War II, Freiburg underwent a restoration project with the goal of rebuilding the city as close to its original architecture and as environmentally-friendly as possible. Among the monuments in need of renewal was Consecration Hall, which desperately required both a restoration and a lighting upgrade.
Located in the Freiburg's main cemetery, Hauptfriedhof, Consecration Hall functions as a place of public worship, services, and concerts. This Neo-Renaissance style hall was originally built in 1899; the outer façade is designed to resemble the shape of a Greek cross. At the center of this monument is its magnificent 33 m (108 ft) dome. Arches, pillars, curves in the walls, and other architectural elements are designed to showcase the dome as if pulling each visitor's eyes towards the heavens.
L-Plan Lighting Design developed a plan that would illuminate the hall's impressive architecture and enhance the space for worship. Remaining true to Freiburg's commitment to the environment, L-Plan Lighting Design chose an LED system for its sustainability. Using Color Kinetics, designers were able to provide the monument with uniform illumination that does not distract from prayer with the added benefit of energy savings.
L-Plan Lighting Design placed eW Cove MX Powercore along the balustrades of the central dome. Cool white light fills the curvature of the structure. The luminaries are hidden behind the balustrades, creating a consistent glow that radiates from the dome like a heavenly beam. Similarly, cove luminaires were placed on pillars along the walls of the building, illuminating the arched entranceways and building's curved walls. To accentuate the beautiful leaded glass windows along the ground floor of the hall, more cove luminaires were placed in the bottom of the window frames so the window designs are still visible at night. The lighting scheme is also adjustable depending on the time of day. Therefore, the hall maintains a constant atmosphere of natural light even during nighttime.
What was once a neglected building held together by makeshift repairs is now a completely revitalized monument. The finishing touch to Consecration Hall's complete overhaul is the new lighting design. "Overall, the lighting concept enhances the strong and distinct architectural characteristic of the building while supporting its function as a place of peaceful worship," says Reinhard Germer, director of L-Plan Lighting Design.