Belarus library gets LED lighting treatment

Dec. 12, 2006
The National Library of Belarus, an architectural diamond, is lit at night in stunning fashion by 4646 color-changing RGB LED fixtures.
In 2006, Minsk received a new architectural symbol – a brand new building to house the National Library of Belarus. The twenty-three storey library is designed in the form of a rhombicuboctahedron (diamond) and symbolizes the enormous value of knowledge that mankind has stored in books.

The building is covered by glass panels and during the day all 24 sides sparkle as a real diamond. Architects Victor Kramarenko and Michael Vinogradov, authors of the building, wanted to preserve and convey this vision at night.

Professor Viktor Kramarenko describes the challenge: "In the evening, the sparkling effect vanishes. External flood type illumination of the building is not effective, since glass panels reflect light into space.

"The authors suggested hiding the light sources behind the glass to create an illusion of a giant color display," continues Kramarenko. "A total of 4646 color-changing LED fixtures were installed all around the building, effectively creating a monitor with 25x25 meter sides and 62 meters in diameter.

"As a result, spectators are able to observe a fantastic show with incredible dynamic plots from hundreds of meters away. It is an extraordinary creative venue for lighting designers."

The entire color-changing system was designed and produced by Walter Industries (Minsk, Belarus), a 100% subsidiary of a Canadian lighting manufacturer GVA Lighting, Inc.

The system consists of 4646 custom-made RGB light fixtures (STAR), 1349 controllers, 54 splitters, one channel splitter RS485-1/8, one converter USB/RS485-1 and one personal computer. Protocol RS485 was chosen for maximal reliability of the system.

Every STAR fixture is equipped with three 1W Luxeons (red, green, blue) mounted on a metal-core PCB. The STAR fixture is IP54-rated and suitable for ambient temperatures varying from -30°C to +50°C. It is housed in an aluminum body with a glass cover and has a cap to comply with the Dark Sky principles.

One controller manages up to four STAR fixtures and consists of LED drivers, brightness control, diagnostics, and communication modules.

The entire network of dynamically addressed LED light fixtures is controlled through custom-designed software operating on a standard PC. The lighting designer is presented with a flexible interface for easy control and creation of lighting shows and specific lighting effects. The designer is able to create, modify and schedule custom lighting scenarios. During operation, all effects are displayed in real-time on the computer monitor.

Impressive troubleshooting functionality of the control system drastically reduces maintenance time. In diagnostics mode, the software is able to check the operation of all LED fixtures, controllers and splitters. In case of deviation from operational parameters, detailed information about the faulty component, along with its exact location, is displayed to the operator. Queries for thermal status of the splitters are also supported in this mode.

"This world class project helped to demonstrate our capability to design and manufacture complex single or multi-color LED systems," says Vladimir Grigorik, president of GVA Lighting. "Our engineers have invented a number of unique engineering innovations and gained a tremendous experience and know-how in deployment of large scale LED systems. We are looking forward to new and exciting challenges from architects and lighting designers around the world."

Contact: [email protected] (in Russian) or [email protected] (in English).