Postbank Cologne

The magistracy section of the Postbank in Cologne is a 140 metre-long and 4,5 metre-wide thoroughfare joining onto five office tracts.

Winner of the Illumination and Architecture Prize 1999.

This section, which faces south-west to the large interior courtyards, is completely glazed. The result, when strolling through the structure, is a rhythmic interplay of dark and light, from the open glazed courtyards to the enveloped office tracts. Spaciously-dimensioned open stairs connect one floor to the next; the feeling of open space is further enhanced by the horizontal passages detached from the panes, giving a wide open view through to several floors. When the illumination requirements were planned, the task was to maintain as well as accent these architectural qualities with night-time illumination and to do so, for reasons of cost, with simple means.

The spatial quality is refined with a colour concept that has the space-limiting walls near the interspersed office tracts in a pleasant terracotta tone. The magistracy section thus rhythmically alternates in two alternating zones, each one maintaining its own lighting concept. In the interior courtyards, the luminaire 602 HR W SOF 2T16-54 E, with its asymmetrical light distribution characteristics, was installed for a strip-lighting arrangement at a height of approximately 2,5 metres along the entire glazed façade, floor by floor. Illumination was designed to be flat and directly floods the panes located 4.5 metres away. The bottom sections of the luminaires are slotted so that daylight passes through the slots. This means that the luminaires are effective not only at night, but during the day as well. The slotted design is also a continuous horizontal motif that visually supports the dimensions of the 140 metre-long magistracy section.

Illumination concept for day and night

The strip-lighting is interrupted at the office tracts. A similar luminaire, the 601 HR SOF 1T58 E, is suspended from the ceiling and, with reversed light emission, illuminates the ochre-coloured walls. In order to accentuate orthogonal penetration of the magistracy by the individual office tracts, open-beam batten luminaires were installed in a recessed ceiling area in the middle of the office tract corridor area. These batten luminaires rhythmically offset the axial emphasis of the magistracy by illuminating the façade, thus moderating the interplay of light and in doing so forming a separate lighted space that flows through the entire magistracy. This creates a feeling of suspense between the enormous length of the magistracy and the fixed, rhythmically interspersed light spaces of the office tracts. The floor-ceiling edges near the stairs are fitted with recessed luminaires whose light unites the floors to create a harmonious vertical illuminated space.

Illumination Planning: Köster & Köster, Frankfurt.

Architects: Gatermann + Schossig

Winner of the Illumination and Architecture Prize 1999.

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