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National Library, Minsk, Belarus

Issue 48 Apr / May 2009 : Architectural : Façade



A new architectural symbol has emerged in Minsk. The national library of belarus features a stunning form and an eyecatching led display that shines at night.


The 23-storey library is designed in the form of a rhombicuboctahedron (diamond) and symbolises the enormous value of knowledge that mankind has stored in books. The building is covered with glass panels and during the day all 24 sides sparkle like a real diamond. Architects Victor Kramarenko and Michael Vinogradov wanted to preserve and convey this vision at night.

Professor Viktor Kramarenko describes the challenge: “In the evening, the sparkling effect vanishes. External flood type illumination of the building is not effective (glass panels reflect light into space). We suggested hiding the light sources behind the glass to create an illusion of a giant colour display. 4,646 colour changing LED fixtures were installed around the building, effectively creating a monitor with 25x25 metre sides and 62 metres in diameter. As a result, the spectators are able to observe a fantastic show with incredible dynamic plots from hundreds of metres away. It is an extraordinary creative venue for lighting designers.”

The colour changing system was designed and produced by Walter Industries (Minsk, Belarus), a subsidiary of GVA Lighting, Inc. The system consists of 4,646 custom made RGB light fixtures (STAR), 1,349 controllers, 54 splitters, one channel splitter RS485-1/8, one Converter USB/RS485-1 and one personal computer. Protocol RS485 was chosen for maximum reliability of the system.

Every STAR fixture came equipped with three 1W Luxeons (Red, Green, Blue) mounted on Metal Clad PCB. The STAR fixture is IP54 rated and suitable for ambient temperatures varying from -30°C to +50°C. It is housed in an aluminum body with a glass cover and has a cap to comply with the Dark Sky principles.
One controller manages up to four STAR fixtures and consists of LED drivers, brightness control, diagnostics and communication modules.
The entire network of dynamically addressed LED light fixtures is controlled through custom designed software operating on a standard PC. The lighting designer is presented with a flexible interface for easy control and creation of lighting shows and specific lighting effects. The designer is able to create, modify and schedule custom lighting scenarios. During operation, all effects are displayed in real-time on the computer monitor.

Impressive troubleshooting functionality of the control system drastically reduces maintenance time. In diagnostics mode, the software is able to check the operation of all LED fixtures, controllers and splitters. In case of deviation from the operational parameters, detailed information about the faulty component, along with its exact location, is displayed to the operator. Queries for the thermal status of the splitters are also supported in this mode.


National Library of Belarus, Minsk National Library of Belarus, Minsk National Library of Belarus, Minsk
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