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Technical environment

Technical environment

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Celebration with spotlights: Relighting of the Church of St Mary’s Birth in Grevenbroich

A recent lighting upgrade at the Grevenbroich parish church saw the pendant luminaires replaced by flexible ERCO spotlights on track. The results are convincing in terms of economy, technology and design.

The Roman Catholic parish church of St. Mariä Geburt in Grevenbroich, a small town near Düsseldorf, was built in 1930. The interior surprises with an unexpected, and similarly unusual, spatial form. The long rectangular, single-nave sanctuary is spanned by a low pointed barrel vault that instantly reminds one of an upside down hull. Deep lunette-type window reveals accentuate the vault, lending the space a rhythmic structure.

The interior was recently subjected to refurbishment. The renovation work also consisted of fundamentally redesigning the church lighting. The interior was previously illuminated by two parallel rows of glass pendant luminaires. Replacing the old, plastered-in cabling would have probably meant replastering the entire vault. For preservation reasons, but above all to reduce the renovation costs in Grevenbroich, alternative lighting options were sought. The solution was found in ERCO track spotlights which offered an efficient and technically feasible approach to high-quality lighting design with maximum flexibility.

The ERCO track system: Easy installation

One of the many advantages for the builders was the fact that a track system did not require new wiring. Furthermore, the U-shaped layout of the track was achieved using the existing fixtures for the pendant luminaires. However, the most convincing argument as far as the parishioners were concerned was that the ERCO solution significantly improved the quality of lighting inside the church. Whereas before, the decorative glass pendant luminaires had emitted diffuse, non-directional light, the track-mounted Optec spotlights now allow for a differentiated and easily variable lighting concept. The solution combines general lighting with eye-catching accent light.

Celebratory atmosphere through wallwashing and accentuation

Optec 24W lens wallwashers in warm white achieve uniform vertical illuminance for optimum ambient lighting inside the church, creating an atmosphere that brings its unique architecture to life. Supplementary accent lighting is provided by Optec spotlights of the same wattage and colour temperature, with spot and wide flood distributions, emphasising important areas and objects. Focus is given to the altar with the ambo, a lectern, in front, whilst at the same time accenting two chapel statues elevated on ledges to the left and right of the chancel. In addition to this, special light scenes were programmed for occasions such as Good Friday or Easter mass, to underline the significance of these holy days. According to reports from Grevenbroich, the response by worshipers is consistently positive. In the new light, the space now appears much more friendly and festive than before.

Project data

Client: Parish of Grevenbroich / Germany
Architecture: Planwerk a Büro für Architektur, Grevenbroich / Germany
Lighting design: Planwerk a Büro für Architektur, Grevenbroich / Germany
Electrical planning: Elektro-Ingenieure-Planungsbüro Jansen, Kerken / Germany
Photography: Dirk Vogel, Dortmund / Germany

Products: Optec
Photo information: © ERCO GmbH,, photography: Dirk Vogel

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About ERCO

The ERCO Light Factory in Lüdenscheid is a leading international specialist in architectural lighting using LED technology. The family business, founded in 1934, now operates as a global player with over 60 subsidiaries, branches and agencies in over 40 countries worldwide. Since 2015 ERCO's portfolio has been 100% LED. Inspired by "light digital" as its leitmotif, ERCO in Lüdenscheid develops, designs and produces digital luminaires with focus on photometrics, electronics and design. Working closely with architects, lighting designers and engineers, ERCO develops lighting tools used primarily for applications in the following fields: Work, Shop, Culture, Community, Hospitality, Living, Public and Contemplation. ERCO understands digital light as the fourth dimension of architecture - providing highly precise and efficient lighting solutions to support creative designers in turning their visions into reality.
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