Project team:

Client: Provinz Limburg/NL
Lighting desin: Studio DL/ Ziut BV
Realisation: Cofely Zuid Nederland BV



Products applied:

Trilux, Meyer, Hoffmeister, Traxon, Schréder, Muzet

05. Jul 2013

To be (realised) or not to be (realised)?
The lighting concept for the Province of Limburg’s government building in Maastricht/NL

Text: Sonja Kiekens
Photos & Renderings: Studio DL

How important is a building for the history of a place? Not very, if you leave the building and everything it stands for in the dark. The time had come to pinpoint the place where the European Union came into being. It is hard to communicate this to the world if the place turns out to be a building that is left in the dark at night – not exactly fitting as a symbol of a Nobel Prize winner, either. Read on …

Buildings are not only illuminated to enhance their architectural design. Light can also underscore their cultural significance within society. In the case of the Province of Limburg’s government building in Maastricht/NL, which played a substantial role in the founding of Europe as we know it today, the realised lighting concept focuses only on the essential. The result: a makeshift solution instead of a concept that addresses the architecture and its historical significance. Let’s just say there are other ways of spreading optimism within Europe’s borders.
The Province of Limburg’s government building stands on the banks of the River Maas. It was built between March 1983 and October 1985. Architect b.g.J.J. designed a building comprising 23 individual but interconnected building units, which had an immediate impact on the Maastricht skyline. The monumental towers, topped with roofs sloping off in all directions, resemble a reiterated image of the original skyline and are thus, architecturally speaking, closely linked to what many refer to as the oldest town in the Netherlands. The government building is located in the district of Randwijk, which was named after an old bastion that formed part of the fortress in Maastricht that dates back to the 18th century. Both the exposed position on the river and the historical significance of the location are evidence of the respect the Dutch feel for the major role the building plays. The building was officially opened by Queen Beatrix in April 1986 and immediately assumed its duty as the seat of government, making history a few years later as the location of the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht. Everyone was aware of the significance of this building for the town and its image, but the appreciation and awe it gave rise to had not been developed to the full.
In 2004/2005 officials began talking about creating a sustainable lighting concept for the government building, but the first steps towards commissioning professionals to design the lighting for the Provinciehuis were not taken till 2008 as part of a refurbishment programme which was sorely needed for the overall complex. No concrete steps were taken to realise the lighting concept before 2011, when the decision was made to uplight the entire complex.
In the specifications defined by the lighting design practice commissioned to illuminate the building, Studio DL, it stated: “A scheme will be applied that uses contrast to bring out the depth of the structure. Specific surfaces will be illuminated uniformly and efficiently, and using simple means”. Say no more. […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 88.

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