2016 AL Design Awards: Sayn Iron Works Foundry

The Sayner Hütte ironworks foundry was constructed in 1830, near the Rhine River, “as an iron cathedral” and became a prototype for the architecture that would later be characteristic of the Industrial Revolution. Today, this former home to furnaces that spewed molten-like metal is a cultural center that hosts events for the local community in the southwest German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, bordered by France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and whose capital is Mainz.

Johannes Roloff

The new lighting scheme recalls the building’s former use as an ironworks and employs a fully controllable lighting system composed of a fiery-toned color palette of warm- and cool-colored RGB LED luminaires. Individual fixture mounting locations were selected so that the luminaires could be carefully integrated into the heritage-protected structure.

Rheinisches Eisenkunstguss-Museum
Johannes Roloff
Johannes Roloff

The building’s western façade provides a central view of the space and recalls the “metaphorical path” the iron once took from the back wall where the main furnace was located through the building and out to wagons. The new lighting seeks to emphasize the “lightness and transparency” of the glass and iron structure, which is arranged in a basilica-like layout, with a central core of paired columns that support two main horizontal steel members and the roof’s metal truss system and red clay tiles.

Johannes Roloff

The lighting is designed to be flexible so that it can accommodate the variety of events that take place within. Fixtures are mounted along the horizontal plane of the main steel members that span the length of the space. This helps to accentuate the building’s length, while also highlighting the verticality of the central columns and their architectural details.

General lighting for the interior is set at a warm-white 3000K while the columns are accented with 4000K white light. The back wall, the only location to receive direct light, is illuminated by a series of floor-recessed RGB linear wallwashers. The central aisle and clay roof tiles are uplight to intensify their red color. The ceilings for the side aisles receive a gentle wash of light from the inter-reflection supplied by the downlighting. This occurs via two types of adjustable spotlights, a 36W fixture outfitted with a honeycomb-louver and a 17W fixture with a snoot, both to provide precise aiming and reduce glare. Each is painted in a finish to match the cast-iron columns.

The overall contrast between light and dark in the project is a nod to building’s former use as a foundry and the surrounding mountain from which the iron ore was mined. Once again, the Sayner Hütte glows from within.

Thomas Naethe

Project: Sayn Iron Works Foundry, Bendorf, Germany • Client: City of Bendorf, Germany • Architect: Not Applicable • Lighting Designer: Licht Kunst Licht, Bonn, Germany • Team Members: Johannes Roloff, Stephanie Jochem, Andreas Schulz • Photographers: Johannes Roloff and Thomas Naethe • Project Size: 47,899 square feet • Project Cost: Not Available • Lighting Costs: $174,176 • Watts per Square Foot: 0.4 • Code Compliance: Not Applicable • Manufacturer: iGuzzini

Jury Comments
Not an easy challenge to pull off the metaphor of a fiery-like light. • Well done. • Deft mix of warm and cool color temperatures.

Johannes Roloff