At its earliest conception, this project was a small component of the collaborative master plan for the Midway Plaisance developed with the University of Chicago, Chicago Park District and the neighboring communities. It pays homage to Frederick Law Olmsted's original dream of a canal with spanning bridges at each of the 5 intersecting roadway crossings.
The issue of scale was addressed with 40-foot-tall light masts that emit light for most of their height rather than lighting from the top down as a conventional light fixture on a pole might do. Marching across the symbolic bridges at evenly spaced intervals, they create a visual rhythm and glowing connection north and south.
Smaller-scale details include stainless steel railings featuring LED lighting, and planter boxes that separate the walkway from vehicular traffic. The vertical light cast from the 40-foot light masts illuminates pedestrians' faces, creating a sense of safety and visibility.
Approaching from a distance, accent lighting below the overhanging sidewalks give the illusion that the whole structure is floating—an homage to Olmsted's idea and an aesthetic grace note to the Midway Plaisance.
The project was designed by James Carpenter Design Associates.
Bauer Latoza Studio
Architectural Lighting's Light & Architecture Design Awards, Special Citation, 2012
IES Illumination Design Award of Merit, 2012
Society for College and University Planning Honor Award for Excellence in Landscape Architecture, 2012