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World-class lighting for Budapest’s new aquatics arena

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  • Lamp efficacy

    Lamp efficacy

    Ensuring the lamp efficiently converts electricity into light (lm/W).

  • Ballast classification

    Ballast classification

    Controlling the electricity supply to the lamp (Energy Efficiency Index).

  • Luminaire distribution

    Luminaire distribution

    Controlling light emission using optics which bend and shape the light to the correct location.

  • System efficacy

    System efficacy

    Combining optical and thermal control within the luminaire (luminaire lm/W).

  • Presence/absence detection

    Presence/absence detection

    Providing lighting only when it’s needed.

  • Daylight detection

    Daylight detection

    Reducing waste light during daylight hours.

  • Constant illuminance

    Constant illuminance

    Producing the correct lighting levels for the duration of the maintenance period.

  • Task-scene setting

    Task-scene setting

    Allowing the user to set scenes and adapt the lighting to different tasks.

  • Timed off

    Timed off

    Automatic cut-off to turn all lights off during unoccupied hours.

  • Task lighting

    Task lighting

    Lighting task areas with the correct amount of light.

  • Zoning of lighting

    Zoning of lighting

    Zoning lighting in accordance to occupancy patterns or window location.

  • Maintenance schedule

    Maintenance schedule

    Tailoring maintenance schedules in accordance to product age, performance and environment.

  • Waste light

    Waste light

    Eliminating waste light which does not hit the intended target.

  • Reflectance


    Taking advantage of light which is reflected from the surface within the space.

  • Visible smart metering

    Visible smart metering

    Enabling results of actions to be quickly seen as increased or decreased energy use to encourage responsible energy consumption.

World-class lighting for Budapest’s new aquatics arena

Brand new Danube Arena gets state-of-the-art LED lighting from Thorn and Zumtobel – making it one of the first LED-lit sports venue in Hungary.

The challenge

The Danube Arena is a state-of-the-art water sports venue on the banks of the River Danube in Budapest. Built specially for the 2017 FINA World Aquatics Championship, the arena includes two full-size swimming pools, a diving pool and a training pool, and can host up to 15,000 spectators. The building had to be completed on an incredibly tight schedule of just two years, after the location for the championship was unexpectedly changed from Mexico to Hungary.

The result

The arena’s lighting was designed by local practice BE LIGHT!, using products from Thorn and Zumtobel, who were involved with the project right from the planning stage. To meet the high standards required for the project – especially the demands of HDTV broadcasting – BE LIGHT! decided that the lighting system needed to be LED. The arena is believed to be the first sports venue in Hungary to be lit predominantly with LED.

The main pools are illuminated with 280 of Thorn’s Altis LED floodlights, while the training pool uses 200 CRAFT high bays from Zumtobel. The entrance and common areas use 569 of Zumtobel’s Perluce ceiling luminaires.

Altis LED features a flexible optical system that can be optimised for different applications, and it is highly controllable, enabling instant light and even dynamic lighting displays. Altis LED’s lightweight, compact design also keeps structural costs down.

Particular challenges for lighting the arena:

  • Requirements for homogeneity on the vertical and horizontal planes
  • Flicker-free light at a specific colour temperature of 5700K to support HD broadcasting
  • The very high ceilings
  • The need for products to be able to resist high ambient temperatures and moisture in the air

Fittings also needed strong chemical resistance for use around the chlorinated pools. The lighting system for the whole arena is digitally controlled, with a total of 15,000 digital addresses – as many as the number of spectators the arena can hold.

Despite the demanding requirements – not to mention the tight deadline – the project has been a big success.

Hear from our client

“A lighting system had to be designed and implemented which both had to meet the requirements of the world class event and, after the event, had to perform economically in everyday life.”
Zoltan Morvai, CEO, BE LIGHT!

“The Danube Arena was planned and constructed in a very short timeframe for a particular event. What’s really wonderful is that, in that short time, the team managed to create something that not only performed brilliantly at the World Championships, but that will stand the test of time for decades to come. Lighting is a key part of this. The team combined creativity, technology and a lot of hard work to get it just right. They have created something very special, that Budapest can really be proud of.”
István Zentai, technical director, FINA World Championships Budapest

Key facts: Danube Arena, Budapest

  • 280 Altis LED floodlights
  • 200 CRAFT high bays
  • 569 Perluce luminaires
  • 15,000 digital addresses under control
  • Investor: Hungarian National Asset Management Inc.
  • General Design: TECTON Architect and Consulting (Béla Varga, István Fodor, Ákos Pindes, Tamás Ükös)
  • Architecture: NAPUR Architect (Marcel Ferencz DLA, György Détári DLA)
  • Interior Design: MCXVI Architects (Gábor Szokolyai)
  • Electrical Engineering: Provill (Zoltán Ivanics, Attila Nagy)
  • Lighting Consultant: BE LIGHT! (Zoltán Morvai, Gergely Papp) 
  • General Contractor: Market Építő Zrt.
  • Electrical Contractor: Vilati Szerelő Zrt.

Photography: Bujnovszky Tamás