Illuminating the fortified openings
that wrap around the buildings architecture

Published on Jan 18, 2019
Architectural project by Arch. Giuliano Venturelli
Lighting project by Arch. Giuliano Venturelli and SIMES
Photography by Mario Bertani

A contemporary building in glass, steel and aluminum, whose architecture is inspired by a military fortress. Rising just below the slopes of the Sant'Anna Hills of Brescia is the new Surveillance and Security Centre for local residents. Previously illuminated by Simes in 2007, the Centre has recently undergone a complete refurbishment and structural upgrade to comply with the new fire and earthquake protection standards as provided by the ARC (Alarm Receiving Centre). The restoration of the building allowed for the optimisation of the existing luminaires and gave scope to new and more functional lighting points for the external areas.

The planning requirements

The building under renovation consists of two units: a central administrative one and a peripheral and more operative one. While the peripheral part had already been restructured in 2007, the bulk of the work concerned the headquarters with the aim of complying with the prerequisites required by the ARC standards.

 

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Design constraints

Before tackling the design phase, it is always necessary to carefully examine the constraints to which the restoration is subject to. The challanges can be of various kinds: budgetary, regulatory, functional or environmental. When analysing the building it immediately became clear that the amount of work needed on the structure so to comply to the ARC normatives would require an important financial investment. Therefore, it was decided to concentrate only on the headquarters, and to move within it the more operational functions that were the heart of the structure. By doing so, the spaces subject to restoration have been reduced considerably, allowing a significant cost savings in terms of compliance. 

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A further aspect concerns the landscape constraints: the Surveillance Centre is located below the Hills of Sant'Anna in the center of Brescia, for which a committee has been called to evaluate the architectural impact of the project, allowing the designer to move only within specific design parameters. Another aspect to consider was linked to functionality and logistics: the building is configured as a paramilitary structure with defined paths, a fortress of steel and reinforced concrete with small windows similar to embrasures, designed out of its need to "Protect" the activities carried out within the company from indiscreet onlookers.

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The concept of military architecture

The structure of the building is strongly linked to the theme of military architecture, so the design language reminds us of a defensive fortified structure: for example, the corridor that links the two buildings reminds us of a drawbridge, acting as a physical junction between two structures. The theme of the fortified openings  is a second aspect that recalls the concept of military architecture: the staff working inside should not be visible from the outside; the use of such openings with narrow slots allow to achieve this goal and together with the use of a protective film it allows the light to filter through while concealing the silhouettes of the staff inside. The third theme of a military nature is one of the cladding: the external ‘skin’ of the building acts as a metal armour, securing the functions that take place inside and carrying out an important fire-fighting and bullet-proof function.

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The lighting project

Given such premises, it was necessary to illuminate the architecture respecting the idea underlying the project and making it safe but at the same time also graceful. The activities, which take place 24 / 7, must find a correct and functional lighting. To provide the right illumination along the walkways our Zip downlight and  Reef bollard have been utilised: the downlights illuminate the walkway under the bridge in a functional manner, while the Reef Bollard runs along the path up to the entrance.

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But the most striking lighting effect that has characterized the building  has been achieved through the use of the Mini Shape illuminating the void inside the embrasures : two luminaires positioned on the ceiling and floor are able to radiate light at 360 ° transforming the void into a decorative element for the building and, at the same time, allowing light to conceal the activities  that take place within the operational headquarters. The use of the Mini Shape recessed  has allowed to create a scenographic niche of light, thanks to the possibility of this lighting body to project its light in a diffused way on the adjacent walls, with a beam of light that extends uniformly at 360°.
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Feel free to contact us

Since 1973 Simes has been producing design lamps to illuminate architecture, the garden and the outdoors. Our technical consultants assist light designers in choosing the best lighting. If you need support for your project, please fill in the form herebelow and we will revert back to you asap.