Social Science Centre

Berlin, Germany

This Selux project on the Reich­pi­etschufer canal bank road in Berlin was car­ried out in no time at all – with around 6 months between light­ing tech­nol­ogy plan­ning, tender and imple­men­ta­tion. Since Decem­ber 2019, mod­u­lar Lif light columns have adorned the façade of the Social Sci­ence Centre in Berlin.

Founded in 1969, the Berlin Social Sci­ence Centre is an extra-mural research insti­tute in the field of the social sci­ences, which coop­er­ates closely with the uni­ver­si­ties in Berlin. As well as the post-modern part, dating from 1979 – 1988, the build­ing com­plex of the Berlin Social Sci­ence Centre also includes the only build­ing to have sur­vived the Second World War in this area of the city – the neo-renais­sance Impe­r­ial Insur­ance Office, which was con­structed in 1894.

Four Lif light columns based on the plans of light­ing plan­ners Bet­tina Wipfler and Edgar Schlae­fle now illu­mi­nate the façade of this listed build­ing. Each of the slim, cylin­dri­cal lumi­naires has three dif­fer­ent façade mod­ules that have been indi­vid­u­ally adapted based on light­ing-engi­neer­ing cal­cu­la­tions to their short dis­tance to the build­ing – the light columns are posi­tioned just five to seven metres away. The façade mod­ules attain highly uni­form light­ing, which avoids any light glare inside the build­ing while two twinspots in each of the Lif light columns ensure light is beamed onto its top sec­tion. For this, both twinspot and façade module are seated in indi­vid­ual mount­ing ele­ments so they can be aligned later on at the loca­tion.

Besides the state-of-the-art light­ing tech­nol­ogy, which ensures the his­toric build­ing façade of the Berlin Social Sci­ence Centre is an attrac­tive sight by night, the ele­gant-purist design of the Lif light columns has cre­ated a new set­ting that has also upgraded the road along­side the canal bank.


lighting designer: Bettina Wipfler, Edgar Schlaefle


photographer: Bettina Wipfler


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