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Lighting 'World Building of the Year'

Helvar has provided lighting control systems and digital power supply units for the new Bocconi University building in Milan, the winner of the World Building of the Year for Learning 2008 at the World Architecture Festival.

This renowned cultural institution houses the scientific and research activities of the Bocconi University and was opened in October 2008. Specified by lighting design house Studio Amman, the new facility’s 800 offices, public foyers and stunning 1,000 seat ‘Aula Magna’ theatre – described as a window to Milan – were all lit and controlled with Helvar DIGIDIM routers and electronic ballasts.

Naturally, in a landmark building of such size, balancing energy efficiency with visual impact and the creation of a perfect learning environment was vital and Luigi Amman, the engineer behind the installation worked closely with Helvar throughout the duration of the project.

“It was extremely important that the entire building be equipped with an efficient, state-of-the-art lighting system to achieve the right balance between visual comfort, energy saving, functionality, and look-and-feel.”

Each office is lit by a suspended luminaire with direct light and dark optic and T5 lamps powered by Helvar high-frequency DALI ballasts (EL-si). All are interconnected through DALI bus systems that handle each of the five rows of offices within the building.

To allow for centralised management, Helvar installed 50 LON-DALI gateways and 7 DIGIDIM Routers for easy communication between the DALI networks and the central control system.

The choice of DALI bus systems and digital electronic ballasts allows for easy scaling and enhancement of the system architecture by integrating it with other performance enhancers, such as presence detectors and light sensors.

The two foyers of the Aula Magna that divide the theatre into two halls are characterised by long rows of lights following the geometry of the glass window spines. The foyers called for totally different system design and requirements and it was extremely important to control individual luminaires in a flexible way as each foyer is also used as an active space for exhibitions and other events.

By exploiting the Ethernet data network, the DIGIDIM Router connects and controls a potentially infinite number of DALI networks allowing the creation of an extremely versatile and scalable system. University personnel can, therefore, control each section of the installation from an easy-to-use control panel and recall default scenes or programme new ones according to specific needs.

“As in other previous projects the availability and competence of Helvar's staff allowed us to choose the best solutions for the various premises and to be flexible enough to adapt to all the changes requested by the customer” adds Mr Amman.

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