The town of Avila is one of the most charming in Spain. In 1985, its historical centre, hidden behind powerful 12-metre high, 3-metre thick walls with 9 fortified gates and 88 towers, was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The city has a long and noble history that began in the Middle Ages and reached its peak of splendour in the 16th century, when the spiritual charisma of Saint Teresa made it an important destination for pilgrims.
To celebrate the fifth centenary of the birth of Saint Teresa of Jesus, the mystic and reformer of the Carmelite Order, the local authorities launched a lighting regeneration project for the town with the main aims of revitalising the historical centre, improving the quality of the lighting atmosphere and reducing energy consumption.
The new lighting system was based on a design by the Aerolighting company and is currently proceeding in phases. During 2019 installations featuring iGuzzini luminaires were completed in a number of areas in the historic centre. So far, replacing the traditional light source luminaires with LED devices has resulted in energy savings of approximately 60%.
The project is based on a careful study of the town’s topography and the architectural features of the buildings and monuments chosen as particular points of interest. A decision was also made to combine two types of lighting: basic, uniform and homogeneous illumination integrated with accent lighting for highlighting important features. All the luminaires are compatible with DALI protocol and can be operated individually to achieve the required overall result. Other constant elements are the 3000 K colour temperature and a Colour Rendering Index of 80. The main installations are naturally on the city wall which is highlighted by Multiwoody projectors fitted with Opti Smart ST1.0 and ST1.2 optics in order to cover the structure’s entire reach as evenly as possible. These lights also make this ring surrounding the town centre stand out and become a visible landmark at night.
Along the city wall, three important installations have been completed, at the Alcazar Gate, the San Vicente Gate and the Carmen Gate. On the far side of the Alcazar Gate, with its imposing twin round tower design, is the vast Saint Teresa Square, which is the town’s main meeting place and the home of the Church of Saint Peter and the Palomilla sculpture. Both the sculpture and the façade of the church are lit by Maxiwoody projectors positioned on the roofs of nearby buildings. This direct emission is combined with light from both pole-mounted luminaires in the surrounding area and floor-mounted devices fitted with special accident-proof guards. In this huge square another installation has been completed in front of the building redesigned by Rafael Moneo between 1993 and 2004. On this modern building, Delphi luminaires have been mounted on special arms to light an area with shops and restaurants.
Once again, outside the walls, on the far side of the San Vicente Gate, is the Basilica of San Vicente, the most important church in Avila after the cathedral. The façades of this sacred building are evenly lit by Multiwoody projectors, and in the same area, iWay bollards also mark out the traffic roundabout opposite the San Vicente Gate. The latter opens an entrance through the massive thickness of the city wall, which is why Light Up recessed luminaires have been chosen to illuminate it as they emphasize the texture of the stone used for its construction. Inside the town, the lighting system also guides visitors to a series of architectural treasures, such as the Church of Saint Joseph whose severe façade is lit by wall-mounted Multiwoody and iPro luminaires. The sides of the church, on the other hand, are evenly lit by iPro projectors installed on a system of arches that run down the long sides of the building. The streets around this area, which are for vehicular traffic too, are lit by Delphi luminaires.
Client: Municipality of Avila
Design: Municipality of Avila (Municipality technicians) – Cristina Sanchidrian, Maximo Casillas
Lighting project: Aureolighting – Rafael Gallego
Councillor responsible for the area:Héctor Palencia
Photographer: Gala Martinez