01. Feb 2013

No. 86 – Transparency

Jan/Feb 2013

The “genius” in the bottle and sustainability. TVZEB in Vicenza/I
Text: Joachim Ritter
Of course we all want to save energy or build zero energy homes, but do we have to go sifting through garbage to do so? Yes, we do. Garbage is not the rubbish is it made out to be. Some of it makes for valuable resources, and needs discovering. In many parts of our world this idea is not taken seriously, or truly regarded as “a load of rubbish”, but there are examples enough to warrant taking a closer look. This article is about how heaps of used plastic bottles and the right brains can produce a zero energy building. Light, which is available in this case in abundance and only needs controlling properly, plays a central role. Light is by no means rubbish, but there is also masses of it available. We just have to learn to appreciate it.

Concrete ideas. The Kongress am Park convention centre in Augsburg/D
Text: Joachim Ritter
The Kongress am Park convention centre is a multi-functional events venue in Augsburg in the south of Germany. Described that way, it sounds like an open, contemporary building. In fact, if outward appearances were anything to go by – and given the architecture that was popular when it was designed – in the daytime the structure actually looks a bit on the sad side. The convention centre was built in 1972, designed by renowned architect Max Steidel (Augsburg). At the time, exposed concrete was all the rage. The material was regarded as modern, cost-effective and flexible – positive qualities that cannot be denied. At the same time, exposed concrete can look pretty desolate, brutal even. In the meantime, the Kongress am Park convention centre in Augsburg has been declared a listed building.

The Cloud. Atrium in the UBS bank in Geneva/CH
Text: Joachim Ritter
When we talk about daylight we seldom include clouds in our vision. And yet there are few people watching clouds in the sky who fail to sense some kind of aesthetic pleasure in defining their shapes – provided they are clouds of the cumulus type. These are the clouds we see on a sunny day: that is to say over the summer months when we are glad of the shade they offer from time to time. And when we talk about dynamic, biologically stimulating light, then a cumulus cloud may well be involved.

Material serenity. Tailor-made sound absorption and light enhancement
Text: Joachim Ritter
Well designed lighting is based on a concept that addresses the special features of an architectural space, which means that room climate, acoustics and light are always very closely related and indeed mutually dependent. The work of the Finnish artist Ilona Rista is based on and around acoustics. Over the years she has specialised in integrating sound-absorbing wooden walls into architecture in an artistic and aesthetically pleasing fashion, thus contributing to the atmosphere in the space.

LED – the answer to everything? Some critical observations
Text: Susanne Brenninkmeijer
Since their invention white LEDs have developed rapidly in leaps and bounds. Efficiency is improving fast and every month we are witness to new developments and technologies. At the world’s biggest light fairs in 2012, 90 per cent of the light sources used were LEDs and the majority of luminaire manufacturers only displayed their latest LED-adapted products. This state of affairs is more confusing than it is inspiring.

The X factor. Lighting Designers – how important are they? Observations from an outsider
Text: Joachim Ritter
The lighting community as a whole tends to pin their hopes for a positive market climate on the lighting designer. Healthy, sustainable development needs qualified specialists who truly understand how to design light. Reality is a little different: although everyone likes talking about lighting design, real market penetration and an understanding of the need for better light still leave a lot to be de-sired. The fact that lighting design has gained so much attention is due to successful marketing. Lighting design sounds more sophisticated than light/lighting planning, although the results sometimes tell a different story.


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