Shining Barcodes

Shining Barcodes

ERCO Hochregallager P3

ERCO stands for innovative illumination concepts. Schneider + Schumacher have realized the software manufacturer’s lighting concept into architecture.

Planning a high rack warehouse is not really what you what think to be the typical job of an architect. The limited budget usually does not leave much room for design games. Pragmatics has top priority here, not esthetics.

The ERCOwarehouse is different, however, it has specific requirements and complex logistic processes. The ones in charge with the company decided in favor of an expansion of their warehouses in Lüdenscheid and to connect ambitious architecture with functional requirements. Looking at the portfolio of ERCO it is no wonder that here a unique illumination concept has been deployed, since the company has specialized in light technological software and hardware for illuminating architecture.

Transparence as a Leitmotif

Architects Schneider + Schumacherdecided to partly bury the P3 high rack warehousein the flank of the hill in order to better integrate the cube with its impressive size into the landscape. The construction of the building is based on the so-called “silo construction”. This means that the structure of the usage itself is the supporting construction. In this case it’s the nearly 20 meters high shelves taking on a primary static job.

The new building’s leitmotif is transparency. What the company’s basic policy is also counts for the design of the new building. The 73 m long and 30 m wide building is equipped with an innovative, translucent industrial glazing at the long sides. At the short sides, transparent insulated glass allows views into the depth of the hall. This way, visitors of the ERCO premises already get an idea about what’s going on inside in terms of automated logistics even when they’re still outside.

Shining Barcodes

The highlight of the high rack warehouse is certainly the lighting concept developed in cooperation with Uwe Belzner. The long sides have been equipped with all in all 140 vertical neon tubes that can be used to create nearly 250 different lighting scenarios. In terms of their design, they are based on the barcodes, the basic control element of the high rack warehouse’s management in terms of logistics.

At sunset, the hall unfolds its special charm. The building looks as if it was dreaming, the two architects Schneider and Schumacher say. Indeed, the play of green lights in the façade and the dimly movements inside create a mystical atmosphere. At night, when nobody is inside and the only things moving are the machines, it nearly appears somewhat eery.

The play of lights on the façade sets a sign visible from afar and has become the figurehead of the ERCO “light factory”. Nice to know there are still companies around willing to give even everyday projects an ambitious architectural touch and thus “bring some magic into everyday life”.

Project details


Schneider + Schumacher Architekturgesellschaft mbH,
LDE Belzner Holmes


Completion: 2001


GFA: 3 365 m²


ERCO Leuchten GmbH


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