Making a historic building even more luminous

    Vienna, Austria

    Photo Credit:

    Exceptional teamwork highlights beautiful renovation


    Built from 1872 to 1883 in a grand neo-Gothic style, Vienna City Hall houses the local government of Vienna, including the mayor and the chambers of the city council. Even in a city known for stunning architecture, Vienna City Hall stands out, thanks to its monumental scale—with 113,000 sq. meters (210,890 sq. feet) of interior space—and five soaring towers.


    While Vienna City Hall’s original architecture already attracts millions of visitors every year, a complete renovation of its façade in 2019­–2023 significantly enhanced its appeal. Initiated by the Magistrate of the City of Vienna, this major, €2 million project was aimed at bringing advanced lighting to the building, while preserving its historic character. The city also wanted to explore the possibilities of dynamic color lighting—and to reduce its energy use by half.


    The city chose Signify to provide lighting design and programming, along with a project team that included a lighting designer, installer, and others. From the start, the project posed several major challenges. Not surprisingly, Vienna City Hall is a historically listed and protected building, requiring careful attention during renovations. The age and design of the structure required complex installation and cable routing through old cellar vaults, and up towers as high as 98 meters, often at night. And stonemasons were renovating the façade’s surface at the same time as the lighting upgrade.

    Thanks to exceptional cooperation and collaboration among the team, the renovation went very smoothly.


    Now more than 1,100 Color Kinetics luminaires light the façade of Vienna City Hall.


    White luminaires—including Burst Compact Powercore and eW Graze Powercore—accentuate the exterior.


    And IntelliHue color luminaires—including ColorGraze Powercore IntelliHuePureStyle Powercore IntelliHue, and ReachElite Powercore IntelliHue add depth by bringing colorful dynamic light to the towers, arcades, windows, and other interior niches.


    This approach lets the city choose from a range of appearances for the building, which can glow in pure white or vivid color, meeting the needs of special events and matching the evolving mood of the city. Using external lighting consoles and a central controller, city personnel gain complete control over the building’s look and feel. This enormous number of luminaires is easily controlled in small groups over two DMX universes.


    “By switching to Signify’s Color Kinetics luminaires, Vienna City Hall benefits from an attractive and very flexible lighting system,” says Helmut Meier, managing director of Signify Austria. “Our LED luminaires are particularly economical and durable, so they reduce operating and maintenance costs—all while lowering energy consumption by 50 percent.”


    Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig presided over the ceremonial opening of the newly renovated Vienna City Hall in January 2024. Throughout the rest of the winter, the brightly lit Vienna City Hall serves as the beautiful backdrop for Vienna Ice World, the extremely popular skating rink in the city hall park and square.

    Technical Details


    • Uplighting the interior of the one-story windows of the structure requires 300 Color PureStyle IntelliHue Powercore luminaires (one-foot luminaires with 30 x 60 spread lenses), each concealed in custom window cabinetry.


    • Highlighting the exterior details relies on a mix of Color Kinetics exterior luminaires:

    Hundreds of ColorGraze IntelliHue Powercore luminaires (in 10 x 40, 15 x 30, 30 x 60, and 60 x 30 spread lenses) bring accurate, punchy color to the details of the arcades (the lower, two-story sections) and taller towers.


    Hundreds of eW Graze MX Powercore luminaires graze the exterior flat surfaces in warm white (2700K) light, while Burst Powercore gen3, eW luminaires bring warm white (2700K) light to statues and tower elements.


    Two ReachElite High Punch Powercore gen2, eW luminaires positioned on lower towers provide the high punch necessary to light the famed Rathausmann statue—one of the symbols of Vienna—at the top of the main tower, from more than 80m/260ft away. Six additional ReachElite luminaires highlight the flagpoles on the four lower towers.


    • Floodlighting the exterior requires eight 8 ReachElite High Punch Powercore gen2 eW, 300 luminaires positioned in a semi-circle on poles 60m/200 ft from the façade to provide warm white (2700K) light. 12 ReachElite High Punch Powercore gen2 IntelliHue, 300 and 8 ReachElite High Punch Powercore gen2 IntelliHue, 100 luminaires are mounted on 10 poles to provide fully saturated color illumination.
    Project credits


    Magistrate of the City of Vienna (MA34)


    Lighting Design:

    podpod design

    Lighting Design & Programming:



    Installation & Maintenance:

    Ing Emmerich Csernohorszky GmbH

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