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Pumping Station, Bayenthal, Germany

Issue 46 Dec / Jan 2008/9 : Architectural : Facade


Vossloh-Schwabe and Semperlux have collaborated to create a stunning LED scheme on the banks of the Rhine.

Cologne has been graced with a new landmark: the high-water pumping station in the Bayenthal suburb of the city.

The pumping station is already a sight to see during the day thanks to is architectural aesthetic, which includes an organically landscaped area that inconspicuously tucks the structure into the banks of the Rhine. The control building, which was designed by the architectural company Kasper Kramer (BDA) to feature a contemporary metal-grid façade, was kept prominent as the visible face of the facility. The pleasing daytime look is only topped by the ‘wow factor’ that nightfall brings. The breathtaking illuminations concept developed by the Semperlux lighting technology specialists in Berlin ensures the pumping station lights up in one of three colours depending on the water level of the Rhine. A normal watermark is indicated by white light, rising water levels by amber and on reaching the high-water mark, the light turns red. The station then begins pumping off the discharge in the reinforced conduits. As a result, the citizens of Cologne are not only aware of when the pumping station is at work, but can also enjoy the eye-catching light spectacle as a thing of simple beauty.

From its company HQ in the German town of Kamp-Lintfort, Vossloh-Schwabe Optoelectronic provided the LED technology that made the artistic aspirations of this unique illumination system possible.

To suit this specific project, a system was developed that involved encapsulating standard VS Optoelectronic Flex modules fitted with SMD LEDs inside the aluminium sections of the metal-grid façade. The white, red, green and blue Flex line modules, each backed with self-adhesive tape, were first precisely trimmed to fit and then fixed within the inside face of the respective segment. The LED modules were also specifically adapted to ensure even light-point spacing and uniform light density over the entire building. With the fitting order of the modules having been precisely calculated by the light engineers at Semperlux, actual installation was problem-free thanks to the highly flexible nature of the LED modules. Finally, the standard Flex modules were permanently encapsulated within the metal sections using a transparent potting material to ensure protection against environmental factors. The indirect LED lighting system works by light hitting the walls of the building and then being reflected to appear as an evenly illuminated surface. In response to the actual water level of the Rhine, a DALI unit triggers the respective light scene and a EUTRAC® DALI LightComposer®-REG module enables overall system control. As a result, both the citizens of Cologne and visitors to the city can enjoy these special illuminations night after night.

The extremely flexible standard Flex modules provided by VS Optoelectronic are fitted with humidity-protected SMD LEDs that are suitable for indoor and outdoor applications. Further Flex advantages include practically no heat generation during operation as well as small dimensions and self-adhesive backing, which make the line modules quick and easy to mount. The products feature lead-free solder and thus comply with all environmental standards and requirements. Blessed with this impressive set of product benefits, VS Optoelectronic’s standard Flex modules are set to add the final sparkle to many more architectural highlights in the future.


The indirect LED lighting system works by light hitting the walls of the building and then being reflected to appear as an evenly illuminated surface
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