Case study: Humboldt Universität Berlin

Custom LED luminaires illuminate historic lecture hall

The Humboldt University in Berlin was founded in 1810, inspired by the ideas of Wilhelm von Humboldt. The institution soon became a meeting place for famous scientists from all over Europe and developed into Germany’s biggest and most prestigious university. It is home to no fewer than 29 Nobel Prize winners, including researchers Max Planck and Robert Koch. One of the lecture halls was named after Emil Fischer, researcher in sugar chemistry and Nobel Prize winner (1902). Inaugurated in 1901, the Emil Fischer lecture hall became known for famous lecturers like Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn, prominent scientists who discovered the nuclear fission. Because of its important scientific value, the lecture hall has been designated as a protected monument. 


Great challenge
The electrical engineering design office, IBB Ingenieursbüro Siebeck, was awarded the order to design a new lighting solution for this historic lecture hall. The existing system consisted of 15 halogen spots with 500-1000 Watt, which performed only moderately in terms of efficiency and glare control. “The requirements of the new installation constituted a great challenge: a mounting height of 8.5 m up front above the lecturer in order to ensure an unobstructed view from the balconies to the blackboard, and a required illumination level of 750 lux resp. 500 lux in the auditorium“, according to Mr. Siebeck.
The mounting height and the request for luminaires with a round illuminating surface initially led to a solution of 28 spotlights and 26 surface mounted luminaires with TC-T lamps and a total installed power of 4566 Watt. However, because of the short average life of TC-T lamps, this would cause high maintenance costs: in order to lower the luminaires and replace the TCT-T lamps, luminaire lifts would need to be installed. This obviously constitutes a very time-consuming and expensive solution.
The solution proposed by ETAP involved only 15 luminaires above the seats and 26 recessed luminaires above and beneath the balconies. The total installed power comes to just 3276 Watt and the illumination level even exceeds the initial requirements. All luminaires, equipped with ETAP’s LED+LENS™ technology meet the standards concerning direct glare limitation (UGR < 19).


K9 escape route LED module
The long lifetime of the LEDs, the high maintenance factor and the 5-year warranty provided by ETAP meant that the luminaire lifts could be dispensed with and allowed for the reuse of the existing pendulums as mounting points.
An additional plus of the ETAP solution: 6 luminaires are provided with a K9 escape route LED module. They ensure the required escape route lighting, even at this extraordinary mounting height.

“This is an excellent and technically convincing solution” concludes Siebeck. “The combination of the innovative LED technology and this historical environment has a special charm. All parties involved were very pleased with the result!”

Project data: 

•15 custom luminaires consisting of 4 x D42 with 44W in square housing in RAL9006, including 6 with K9 emergency module with LED
•13 x D42 with 44W above the balcony
•13 x D42 with 24W under the balcony
•R4 surface mounted luminaires as blackboard lighting
•Lighting intensity measured at the front of the lecture hall is greater than 800 lux.

IBB Ingenieurbüro Siebeck
  • Humboldt_1.jpg
  • Humboldt_4.jpg
  • Humboldt_5.jpg
  • Humboldt_6.jpg
Related Info