De Assenburg Shopping Mall

Daylight returns to the city centre of Bemmel

Converting a commercial fortress into a beautiful modern day shopping mall.

Until recently, the De Assenburg shopping mall in the city of Bemmel, north of Nijmegen, was a dark and inhospitable place. Some shoppers called it “the Kasbah” as a reference to the dark, windowless fortresses of ancient time. In 2009, an intense four-year plan to revitalise and rejuvenate the city centre reached the shopping mall. 90 VELUX Modular Skylights were used to create a spacious and airy shopping avenue in place of the dark corridors. The new arcade made an instant impact, prompting one shopkeeper to declare: “They should have done this 20 years ago.”

Light that elevates the space – and increases sales.

The architects at Mulleners + Mulleners architects, responsible for redesigning the mall, came up with a vision to emulate the wonders of famous commercial hotspots across Europe.

“Just like in classical malls that you find in The Hague or in Milan, we wanted to create a mall which is pleasant, light-coloured and spacious. raising the roof and allowing penetration of daylight makes the space more pleasant and clearer,” says Daniel Didden.

The owner of the building, Hans Geveling, agrees while adding a financial consideration to the project. “The shopping centre was oriented inwards, low, dark and shut in, and in that sense it was no longer relevant for the times. another objective was of course to achieve a lettable and profitable investment. And this succeeded.”

Also as Hans Geveling might already be aware of, research into the area of skylights in retail buildings has revealed a remarkable positive relationship between sales and daylight. according to these studies an average store is likely to raise sales by up to 40 % just by adding skylight.*

* Heschong Mahone Groupe (1999), Skylighting and Retail Sales - An Investigation into the Relationship Between Daylighting and Human Performance, Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Daniel Didden, Mulleners + Mulleners Architects

"Since the system looks so well and rigorous, I expect it to look just as good in 10 years.

Daniel Didden
Mulleners + Mulleners Architects

The power of daylight

At first, Daniel Didden and his colleagues didn’t really take much interest in the choice of skylight, but thanks to a very enthusiastic contractor that soon changed.

“When the contractor mentioned VELUX Modular Skylights, he was practically bouncing. He was so enthusiastic”, Daniel Didden remembers. After reviewing the modular system, the architects agreed to implement a ridgelight solution that would run through the entire mall, creating a beautiful, well-lit shopping avenue.

“What I especially like about the rooflight is that it makes the mall a very tranquil place. I have seen skylights which have lots of technical devices and engines, but this is not the case here. It is designed very ingeniously, yet at the same time it appears very simple.” Daniel Didden appreciates the simplicity of the VELUX system but he also acknowledges the wider benefits of bringing more daylight and ventilation into a commercial area.

“With a skylight you get more light, but at the same time more square meters. This enables you to have a return on your investment. You can say in fact that the accessibility and viability of a shopping centre increases by having a skylight.”

Facts about the project

The planning phase 

  • The installation of the VELUX Modular Skylights in shopping mall “De Assenburg” was part of a renovation project, planned to rejuvenate the city centre of Bemmel. 
  • The planning of the VELUX Modular Skylights configured as ridgelights started in July 2012 
  • The installation started October 2012 and took approximately seven days to complete.

Parties involved in the project  

  • The construction group included the responsible architects from Mulleners + Mulleners Architects, representatives of the contractor Plegt-Vos Stoffels BV, installers from Schep & Zonen BV and representatives from the VELUX Group. 
  • The project was led by Daniel Didden of Mulleners + Mulleners Architects. 
  • Leading the installation was Geert-Jan Schep from Schep & Zonen BV.

The solution

  • Three long ridgelight applications of 13, 17 and 11 meters, covering the central corridor 
  • 90 modular skylights 1000x1800 and 900x1800 mm. 
  • 12 modules are venting. 
  • 5° pitch.

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