Unido Vienna: 70,000 lamps light up the United Nations in Vienna
The United Nations Office is like a city within a city. The complex houses the headquarters of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and encompasses around 4500 offices and a variety of facilities including conference rooms, laboratories, banks, restaurants, car parks and even a shopping centre for the employees of international organisations. Despite the many different lighting requirements, the illumination is perfect in all areas – a responsibility that has been held by Ludwig Leuchten for over a decade.
Comprehensive lighting plans for all rooms
The property. Vienna is home to one of the four major UN office sites, alongside New York, Geneva and Nairobi. Over 4000 people from 100 countries work at the Vienna International Centre (VIC), which locals refer to as UNO City. The offices were built between 1973 and 1979 in the 23rd district of Vienna and were based on the plans of the Austrian architect Johann Staber. The exterritorial grounds cover 180,000 sq m with a floor space of approx. 230,000 sq m. The different rooms in the office complex fulfil a variety of functions and the lighting has to match this.
New lighting concept for listed building
The brief. There are four towers at UNO City spanning 60 storeys of office space, a conference centre in the middle, three underground levels with workshops and technical equipment, restaurants, a sports hall, a medical centre and even a firing range for training security staff. In 2005, a project was started to gradually refurbish all areas while removing asbestos. Apart from building measures, this involved a complete rethink of the lighting arrangements. The buildings are subject to a preservation order so this meant that any new lighting would have to fit in with the original building concept and, wherever possible, retain the same dimensions. Work at UNO City could not be interrupted by renovations, so a schedule of more than ten years was agreed for the project.
The solution. Ludwig Leuchten drafted comprehensive lighting plans for all rooms. Over the past 10 years, the company has supplied and fitted no fewer than 70,000 luminaires in around 170 formats. These have ranged from compact downlights to complete ceiling elements with integrated lamps. During planning, it became apparent that the most inexpensive and energy-efficient lamp type would be the T5.
Most of the luminaires were fitted in offices. Ludwig Leuchten installed specially perforated ceiling elements across 120,000 sq m. This entailed 13,000 individual units, each with three luminaires fitted with 14 and 24 watt bulbs. To adhere to the Austrian preservation order, the lighting elements were integrated into the existing concrete housings to ensure that the lowest extremity of the original structure remained visible. The ceiling elements have a unique feature resulting from the fact that the central part of each office tower is actually concave. The ceiling elements form special segments, which become narrower as they extend from the centre of the building to the windows on the outside. Each ceiling element contains an integrated luminaire 3.74 metres long. At the centre of the building, this had to be nearly 10cm wider than next to the windows (74cm vs. 67cm). For Ludwig Leuchten, this entailed extra measuring, complex production planning and a complicated preparation sequence.
Ludwig Leuchten developed reflectors which were specially adapted to the dimensions of the rooms to minimise energy consumption and ensure each room is optimally illuminated. The experts selected T5s, which are fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts. Compared to the original lighting units, which used magnetic ballasts, these significantly improve energy consumption. Combined with the optimised light distribution curve of the new lighting solution, energy consumption could be reduced by around 35 per cent. At the same time, illumination levels have improved by around 20 per cent.
One particular challenge with the project was the conference centre. This is housed in a round building with expansive ceiling elements that contain luminaires running from the centre of the building outwards to the façade. Also, the front sides of luminaires along the central axis of the lamps are not set at 90 degrees. Instead, they are sometimes at more than 90 degrees, sometimes less. Put simply, this creates a zigzag pattern on the ceiling – a huge challenge in lighting terms. Ludwig Leuchten produced more than 100 different types of luminaires and these are now on eight conference storeys, plus the two upper storeys and four lower storeys with the conferencing technology and technical facilities.
The future. Work is about to enter the final stage to provide new lighting in the underground car parks, in open areas, along walkways, on the roads, over fire exits, in the toilets next to the offices and in the community areas containing copying equipment and kitchenettes. This stage will be completed in the coming years and will involve fitting LED luminaires.