Formation in the monumental building Greswaren

Already in the Stone Age clay and loam were used to make pottery in Central Limburg in the south of the Netherlands.

At the end of the 18th century, a ceramics factory was built in Reuver, now known as a protected monument, the Greswarenfabriek. This building was converted into a multifunctional complex by order of Stichting Onderwijs Midden-Limburg SOML, in which students are trained to develop their talents. Glamox was able to provide the lighting design and lighting for this unique building.

Ruin versus rarity

A passer-by or layman sees a building in miserable condition in the oldest preserved parts of this factory; a ruin. It was unimaginable that this was a successful ceramics factory, where plumes of smoke swirled from the high chimneys of the clay ovens, trams brought clay from the nearby German high terrace. A factory where kilos of baked clay lay lined up in rows in the high attics until it was ready to be transported as a final product by ship or train. How different is this for the expert, who feels an unprecedented urge to restore the building with a sparkling enthusiasm for the architectural styles and techniques; brick ornaments around the windows, beautiful beam constructions, high beamed ceilings but also trough vaults, wooden uprights and masonry columns. The expert thinks in possibilities to bring this old abandoned and static building to life with people, activity and sound, a filled image-determining element in the environment.

Monument and restoration

The Greswarenfabriek represents a piece of industrial and regional history; the building, the building materials and the construction technique are characteristic and have a high architectural-historical value. The starting point of the restoration was therefore to preserve the structural and facade elements as much as possible and to use the materials on site from a historical perspective but also for sustainability. A major restoration, in which a special factory becomes suitable for its new educational destination.

History Greswarenfabriek

The factory complex was built from 1899 and covered 6 hectares during its heyday. Louis Timmermans founded a steam roof tile factory and brick factory in 1899, he worked with his brothers-in-law Paul and Joseph Teeuwen, who also had a factory in Tegelen and Kaldenkirchen in the same segment. In 1901 the vitrified clay pipe factory was added, in 1905 the factories were taken over by the Teeuwen brothers, after which the name NV Greswaren Industrie Teeuwen was created in 1940.

There are two moments of explosive growth in the history of construction related clay goods: The obligation to make roofs no longer from straw or reed but from non-combustible materials such as ceramics or slate in the cities, in order to prevent city fires, this was around 1900 The more expensive slate was used for the representative buildings such as town halls and churches, but for the shops, houses and ordinary buildings the ceramic roof tiles were baked in the kilns.

Louis Timmermans founded a steam roof tile factory and brick factory in 1899.

A second impulse arose in the reconstruction of the Netherlands after the Second World War. In the 1950s and 1960s, the enormous demand for building materials led to explosive growth. Today, a number of ceramic producers are still based in the region.

A context-rich learning environment

SOML wants to teach students in a context-rich learning environment; creating an interaction between education, society and business. The building includes sufficient opportunities for practical training, in addition to the various practical and theory classrooms, there is an official restaurant, the Gresbuus. Here, people from outside can have breakfast, lunch or dinner and students can buy a sandwich during the break, because the restaurant is integrated into the school's auditorium, where separate seating areas have been created between special oven arches. The same students can also gain experience in the kitchen and in the ministry here. Other forms of cross-fertilization in the building are a branch of a bank, already during the first meeting it was asked whether this bank could tell employees for the economics profession more about their work. A complete office garden has been set up on the first floor. Companies can rent space here but also use the space to collaborate with students. There is also room for social and societal associations, such as a theater association, and discussions were also held with a daytime activity center, library and local history circle.

Fit and measure for a fresh school

A monumental project requires a different approach. “It is fitting and measuring with the installations because there are already fixed parts in the building and high and low spaces. Cabinets had to be hoisted through the roof at an early stage because they simply did not fit through the facades. The concept of the fresh school had to be complied with; low energy consumption and a healthy indoor environment with regard to temperature, comfort, light and sound. Visible technology has been chosen in this building, a silo has been placed on the outside of the building because we have opted for a high-temperature biomass boiler system, solar panels and a heat pump have also been installed”, says Stefan Janssen, director of consultancy Klictet. “Because of the monumental building, we weren't allowed to mill the walls and everything had to be installed neatly. The walls are of course not flat, so we spent a lot of time installing as accurately as possible with neat bends, PEVO van Monfort was the ideal installer for us. They looked carefully at which line to follow in, for example, the lighting and found a system. I can only say that it was a perfect collaboration, the collaboration with Glamox was also great; a good lighting design, which we coordinated with the architect and fit within the framework. It was the first collaboration with Glamox and we are immediately working on the next project”, says Janssen.

Install creatively between beams

“What a challenge!”, Says Stephan van Grimbergen of installer PEVO van Monfort Elektro, laughing, “making something old with a new look using the most modern technology.” He is involved in work preparation, works as a draftsman and engineer. “These are the projects that are unique, an installer works for the most part in the traditional straightforward buildings, but this is so special. You come into strange situations, you can think up a lot on paper, but in practice you have to deal with structural beams and restrictions, fire compartments and monumental restrictions. For the distribution of the lighting fixtures, Glamox made a design to us the art to install it neatly; install it creatively. For me it was my first acquaintance with Glamox and to be honest, I think you are one of the better lighting suppliers, everything is delivered neatly and thought with it. For mounting the pendant luminaires, we wanted to have the suspension sets earlier and you arranged it immediately”, says Van Grimbergen. This was also Van Grimbergen's first experience with Glamox.

In-line mounted multiform lighting design

The decorative Glamox pendant luminaires stand out among the old weathered ceiling beams. We see decorative round, rectangular and square pendant luminaires of the C90, C95 and C80 luminaires in the auditorium, instruction environments, corridors and stairwells. Mounted on the track, we find the tougher i10 fixtures at the technology squares. The hygienic C63 luminaire for use in the food industry is installed in the kitchens. Various other Glamox fixtures have been used throughout the building, including downlights D70, surface-mounted fixtures i60, mirror fixtures A40, recessed downlights O87 and outdoor lighting fixtures O84 and O46.

To transform the atmosphere of the space, the color temperature and illuminance in the social zone of the restaurant and auditorium can be varied. Human Centric Lighting has been installed in the theory classrooms. The teachers can enter their preference for color temperature, a warm color temperature for social activities and a cool color temperature during testing times, all this to guide the students to the best results and good well-being. The teachers are enthusiastic about this position, although they have only been able to work with it for a short time due to the Corona limitations.

The end result is an authentic industrial building with a hip new look with an intimate atmosphere. A unique project, which the consultant and installer look at with pride.


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"What a challenge!
Making something old with a new look using the most modern technology."

Stephan van Grimbergen of installer PEVO van Monfort Elektro