Glaspaleis Heerlen

Light modernisation in the “stacked” market

The "Glaspaleis Heerlen" is an impressive transparent forum in the centre of Heerlen, in the south-east of the Dutch province of Limburg. Two decades after installation, 200 BEGA indoor luminaires continued to provide reliable service at all times in the cultural centre. However, energy-efficient developments were required.

The modernization project in the Glaspalast underlines BEGA's philosophy of producing durable building details - not disposable products. The components are interchangeable, and the architectural staging is retained by means of distinctive lighting.

The Union International d' Architecture includes the "Glaspaleis Heerlen" in its list of the "Most important 1,000 buildings of the 20th century".

Sophisticated architecture, countless unique features and the sustainability of the entire project underline the aspirations of Kaufmann and client Peter Josef Schunck:

Unusual planning specification In the 1930s, architect Frits Peutz was given the unusual brief by Schunck: "Design a department store that stands next to the market like a stacked market square!"

A concrete skeleton and suspended glass façades created such a covered marketplace. Mushroom-shaped concrete columns support the ceilings. Fabrics and clothing were the focus of the textile department store, which was intended to make the entire warehouse accessible to customers. The building was therefore designed as a salesroom and warehouse at the same time - without any partitions. Daylight was available everywhere, making it easier to examine the goods. For decades, the family of the department store owner Schunck lived in the penthouse on the roof.

After being repurposed as office space with newly inserted walls and changes to the glass façade, the building simply looked like a massive, unreal block. An initiative launched in 1993 saved the building, which was already under discussion for demolition. Recognition as a valuable architectural monument in 1995 then pointed the right way: the city of Heerlen bought the avant-garde building to turn it into a cultural center.

Architects Jo Coenen and Wiel Arets were commissioned to renovate the building in line with its listed status. From the turn of the millennium, they restored the glass palace to its original fascinating appearance - and equipped it with sustainable BEGA lighting, which was still providing reliable service more than two decades later.

However, the triumph of LED light sources has now opened up the opportunity to significantly reduce energy costs. The ceiling luminaires and spherical pendant luminaires, some of which also fulfil emergency lighting functions, were fitted with LED conversion kits during operation. With even more harmonious lighting than with the previous lamps, the lighting experience planned decades ago, and later modernised, will continue to delight visitors to the cultural centre in the future.

BEGA Continued Life Program

Are you drawing up plans for a new lighting system? Or are you looking for a low-cost way to convert an existing, intact system that blends in seamlessly with its surroundings to accommodate modern, energy-efficient LED technology?

Architects: Frits Peutz, Heerlen

Lighting design barrier-free access: Jo Coenen, Maastricht and Wiel Arets, Amsterdam

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