Mill site, Willstätt - DE

The village centre shines in new splendour!

The new village centre of Willstätt is characterised by the extensively redeveloped site of the old mill. On the one hand, the site includes the characteristic and prominent mill building. This now houses the new town hall as well as freehold flats. On the other hand, an attractive and inviting forecourt with direct access to the Kinzig river was created, which is inviting as a meeting place and as a venue for celebrations.

The community of Willstätt, with approximately 10,000 inhabitants, in the northwest of the Ortenau district (in the state Baden-Württemberg) is characterized by half-timbered houses from the 18th and 19th century, a historically protected mill building and the romantic Kinzig river that fl ows through the town.

Willstätt is idyllically set between the Black Forest and the Vosges. It is fondly known as the “half-timbered community”, a town full of charm and attractions for a number of tourist activities – and Willstätt can also boast a town with a very high quality of life.

A very important site for the community is the recently, extensively redeveloped and redesigned town centre surrounding the historical mill building.

Within the framework of this redevelopment, a new and very sophisticated lighting concept was implemented. A special focus was placed on the building itself. The task was to impressively illuminate the building complex – without blinding those inside the building.

© Hess

Upgrading the town centre through revitalization and new construction

Already in 2001, the city planning measure “Am alten Schloßplatz” [On the Old Castle Square] was incorporated in the state renovation program. The goal was to revitalise brownfield areas, modernise the town centre, secure the housing stock and integrate new buildings into the surrounding structures.

The redevelopment envisioned the town centre as a new centre and meeting place for the community, to be upgraded and, at the same time, to create space for high quality residential housing and modern commercial buildings. The planning and implementation took place in cooperation with Benjamin Holz from the BHM Planungsgesellschaft-mbH from Bruchsal.

The “Mill site” as the redevelopment focus

The area surrounding the mill was upgraded through a new residential and office building that houses the “Mühlencafé” [Mill Café]. As a result, the area was transformed into a meeting place for the town’s citizens. The town centre has always been shaped by the mill area and the mill ocated upon it. The mill was first mentioned in history books in 1480.

Accordingly, there was also the wish to preserve the impressive and historic building as a characteristic and impressive community landmark.

In awareness of the importance of the site and the building, the mill building was renovated – together with an investor – to a high degree, true to the original and the entire site has been upgraded in a restrained and stylish manner. To make the area surrounding the mill an even more pleasant place to linger, the square and inviting green areas were created, that can be used by anyone as a meeting place.

In this context, the Kinzig river was also taken into account in the design concept. Though the river was inaccessible and hard to see before the redevelopment, the bank now off ers an experience for inhabitants and visitors and contributes to a harmonious overall impression of the area.

After the redevelopment, the four-storey part of the mill building houses the town hall. Ten high-quality freehold flats are housed in the six-storey part of the building.

The lighting concept meets the high demands of the area

The “specifications” for the lighting concept included an extremely high-quality appearance and atmospheric lighting, in order for the mill area to meet its functions as a characteristic landmark also in the evening and night hours.

As a solution for the demanding lighting concept, three luminaire models from Hess were selected. The multifunctional CITY ELEMENTS lighting system, the RAVENNA in-ground spotlight as well as the RESIDENZA pole-top-mounted luminaire ensure a successful combination of path, square and accent lighting.

Along the newly designed riverbank, the RESIDENZA pole-top mounted luminaires ensure a previously non-existent experience of the area along the riverbank. With a mounting height of 4 metres, the luminaires (in the light colour 4000K) guarantee an extremely homogeneous light. Thanks to the integrated dimming system StepDim, the illumination level can be continuously reduced during the evening and night hours and the efficiency further increased as a result.

Thanks to its elegant, cylindrical form, the RESIDENZA blends in perfectly in the surroundings of the riverbank path and is in perfect harmony with the multifunctional CITY ELEMENTS.

The RAVENNA in-ground spotlight stages the trees on town hall square through an interesting play with light and shadow, in a truly elegant way.

"From the very beginning, our municipal council was very open to the planner’s idea to use this type of illumination. The results speak for themselves and any reservations on the part of the town hall employees and residents have been dispelled.”

Clemens Schönle
Head of the building authority
Community of Willstätt

The historic “Old Mill” is illuminated using CITY ELEMENTS with projection technology

The CITY ELEMENTS, and the associated use of projection technology, are the absolute illumination highlight.

As a central design element, the “Old Mill”, that is to say the mill building, should represent an absolute highlight also in the evening and night hours. Therefore the specification was to stage the entirety of the high-profile façade, without disturbing the town hall employees or the residents.

In order to meet this requirement, three of the eight CITY ELEMENTS 180 are equipped with a very special projection technology from Opticalight – a technology that makes it possible to block light at desired points and to thus avoid blinding. For this purpose, a template was designed that meets the requirements of the town and blocks out the windows of the mill building to the centimetre.

For Clemens Schönle, the head of the building authority of the community of Willstätt, the illumination of the mill building is an absolute success. "From the very beginning, our municipal council was very open to the planner’s idea to use this type of illumination. The results speak for themselves and any reservations on the part of the town hall employees and residents have been dispelled.”

Since the most slender form of the CITY ELEMENTS, the CITY ELEMENTS 180 column with a diameter of 180 mm, was decided upon in the framework of the overall project, an integration of the projection technology in the lighting system was no longer possible. Therefore a special solution was selected in which the projectors were placed on top of the CITY ELEMENTS.

For the lighting surrounding the embankment as well as around the forecourt, the terminating and intermediate elements of the CITY ELEMENTS, were equipped with the lighting technology L3.1 (e.g. with asymmetrical light distribution).

In order to achieve a uniform appearance, the same light colour 4000K was selected to match the RESIDENZA. There was also a consensus regarding the fi nish: The RESIDENZA luminaires as well as the CITY ELEMENTS, were painted in colour DB 703.

Free WLAN – perfectly integrated in the CITY ELEMENTS

A further added value for the inhabitants and guests of the community of Willstätt was implemented in the course of the new lighting system: Public WLAN.

Perfect as it is integrated in an almost invisible way in the CITY ELEMENTS that an extensive WLAN coverage is provided. In this way, Willstätt takes full advantage of the multifunctional possibilities and characteristics of the CITY ELEMENTS. A wide variety of tasks and functions is thus united in one element.

Clemens Schönle is very satisfied with the implementation and is also happy that the WLAN was well received by the citizens. Thus Willstätt portrays itself as a modern and forward-looking community in an impressive way.

The new town centre is very popular with the citizens

Since the completion of the work, the new town centre appears friendlier and more inviting and shines, quite literally, in a new light. It now off ers the perfect stage for the annual markets, cultural festivals, “after-work” parties – and also has a very special treat: an outdoor wedding venue. Also in this sense, Willstätt is something special.

The town centre around the mill area, with the seating steps leading down to the water, as well as the possibility of walking along the Kinzig river, has thus become a meeting place for citizens as well as guests.

The community of Willstätt has therefore succeeded in creating a contemporary and modern town centre and has managed to preserve the characteristic features of the past – during the day and at night.

Project information

Town / Country
Willstätt - Germany