Archive for March 14th, 2011

March 14, 2011

China National Offshore Oil Corporation Headquarters | KPF

China National Offshore Oil Corporation Headquarters / KPF © Zhang Guang Yuan

China National Offshore Oil Corporation Headquarters / KPF © H.G. Esch

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site plan site plan

China National Offshore Oil Corporation Headquarters / KPF © H.G. Esch

China National Offshore Oil Corporation Headquarters / KPF © H.G. Esch

Located at a major crossroads along the Second Ring Road in ’s eastern Dongcheng district, the CNOOC headquarters building acts as an urban counter-point to the massive Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building situated on the opposing corner.

Project description, images, and drawings after the break.

Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Location: Chaoyangmen North Street, Dongcheng, 
Associate Architect:  Architecture Design & Research Group
Project Area: 940,000 sqf
Photographs: Zhang Guang Yuan and H.G. Esch

The building’s form evokes the images of offshore oil production. The prow-like shape recalling an oil tanker’s bow, and the tower mass elevated above the ground on piloti suggesting an offshore oil derrick. This effect is further heightened by the design of the ground plane which has been developed to suggest the ocean’s surface.Internally, office and function spaces are organized around a central, full-height, sunlit atrium. Large sky-gardens carve away portions of the tower floor plates to allow daylight to penetrate into the atrium from all three sides. These sky-gardens take on different configurations on each of the sides in response to the sun angles encountered. Additionally, a skylight and clerestory windows at the top of the atrium allow filtered light to wash the atrium interior surfaces. A three-storey, L-shaped podium defines a courtyard and houses public spaces, such as meeting rooms, restaurants, and exhibition areas.The rotated triangular tower maximizes the use of the site and creates an entry courtyard along the quieter side which is entered through a symbolic gateway recalling traditional Chinese courtyards.

March 14, 2011

Interchange Tower | WORKac

WORKac_Interchange_img01 © WORKac

WORKac_Interchange_img02 © WORKac

WORKac_Interchange_img03 © WORKac

WORKac_Interchange_img10 © WORKac

WORKac_Interchange_img08 © WORKac

WORKac_Interchange_img09 © WORKac

floor06 © WORKac

Print © WORKac

water_circulation2 © WORKac

Print © WORKac

For ’s skyscraper design for the  Metro Tower, the architects created a new a new kind of mixed density to promote a sustainable and a diverse stacked city.  This vertical city holds places places of intense urban interchange that combine infrastructure, mixed uses, and public space.  Located at an  intersection with a horizontal crossroads of major boulevards, this vertical interchange between the underground metro, ground-level bus station, shopping podium and the offices and hotel above will essentially be linking the metro with the sky.  ”We call this tower the Interchange – a vertical city that twists together natural green space with ecological systems, structural and functional efficiency with dramatic new forms and technology, while linking the underground to the sky,” added the architects.

“Our design celebrates this condition by tracing the diagonal line of the Metro Line #1 up through the building. The subway can also be easily accessed directly through the main elevators of the tower, which also provides direct and convenient access for hotel guests and office workers to travel directly from the secure tower metro lobby to the upper floors,” explained the architects.

The tower draws on contextual  diagonal lines – all derived from the trajectory of the metro – become the organizing motif of the building. A series of open green spaces have been strategically inserted between the different programmatic zones. These “green pockets” are chiseled into the building, creating a natural counterpoint to the hard edges of the tower and providing a striking visual confirmation of the building’s commitment to the new ecological urbanism. The building’s diagonal forms also help the structural system.

The floors directly below each cut take advantage of the requirements for large structural trusses and refuge floors to create space for natural water filtration systems. By sharing systems, the building can also take advantage of the inverse day-night load cycles of the offices and the hotel, spreading out the maximum loads across 24 hours. Rooftop solar panels at the tower and podium will help provide additional energy for the building.


March 14, 2011

Songdo International Business District | KPF

Songdo International Business District / KPF Courtesy of KPF

Songdo International Business District (IBD) occupies over 1,500 acres of reclaimed land on the West Coast of . This waterfront master plan includes a diverse array of programmatic elements and is designed to be a pedestrian friendly city with walkable streets and an urban density that allows for an active street life. Signature features include, the New Songdo City First World Towers, Northeast Asia Trade Tower, the 100-arce Songdo Central Park, and the Songdo City International School.

Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox
Photographs: H.G. Esch, Jaesung

Songdo International Business District / KPF © Jaesung

New Songdo City First World Towers

First World Towers is the first residential development to be realized in Songdo IBD. Housing 7,000 of the city’s 65,000 residents, FWT contains 2,545 apartments and live/work spaces, as well as a health club, a daycare center, and a seniors’ center.

Songdo International Business District / KPF © KPF

Consistent with the design guidelines established by the master plan, inspired by pedestrian cities of Europe and North America, the design for FWT employs a number of unprecedented concepts such as a pedestrian-scaled street grid, continuous street walls, and figural open spaces.

Associate Architect: Kunwon Architects
Project Area: 3,700,000 sqf

Songdo International Business District / KPF © H.G. Esch

Northeast Asia Trade Tower

Designed to be a landmark on the skyline of Songdo IBD, the Northeast Asia Trade Tower aims to both symbolize and embody the tenants of an international business hub in a free-trade zone. Occupying a site at the southern edge of Central Park, the tapering volume is a mixed-use development that combines office, hotel, and service apartment components, each with its own entrance lobby. The 1,010-foot-tall (308-meter-tall) tower offers views of the Yellow Sea, the city of , and the surrounding mountains.

Architect-of-Record: Heerim
Project Area: 1,500,000 sqf

Songdo International Business District / KPF © KPF

Songdo Central Park

KPF created mounds and canals in this 100-acre Central Park to reflect the surrounding natural context. Adjacent to the West Sea on the coast of 

near Seoul, Songdo Central Park serves to connect to various civic and cultural destinations and the waterfront via a series of man-made seawater canals accessed by water taxi.

Songdo International Business District / KPF © Jaesung
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Songdo International Business District / KPF © Jaesung

The combination of these natural and manmade elements makes this park the cultural and recreational heart of Songdo IBD. Within the park, a series of pedestrian bridges have been designed over the canal system, serving as focal points within the landscape and making for unique destination points.Throughout history, the bow bridge has been a popular structural form employed in Asian gardens, and footbridges are a common site in most Korean parks and gardens.

Deriving their form from the Songdo ConvensiA Convention Center (also designed by

KPF), the pedestrian bridges in Central Park reflect an undulating, sweeping arc shape and exist as a family of structures with readily identifiable pieces arranged in different combinations when taken all together.

Architect-of-Record: Yooshin
Canal Engineering: Arup & Partners
Park Engineering: Dae-Il and Ung-Do
Horticultural Consultant: U.P. Hedrick
Project Area: 4,400,000 sqf

Songdo International Business District / KPF © H.G. Esch

Songdo International School

KPF developed a state-of-the-art learning complex for over 2,000 students (K through 12) that facilitates diverse learning and teaching styles. KPF aimed to create distinct, yet related student communities through advanced planning and design strategies.

Songdo International Business District / KPF © H.G. Esch

The design gives a unique material to each school community identity. Layers of stepped sections and sunken gardens separate these areas without creating barriers, invoking the interplay of solid and void that underlies traditional Korean design.

Project Team: James von Klemperer (Design Principal), Gregory Clement (Managing Principal), Gregory Weithman (Project Manager), Methanee Massirarat (Senior Designer), Ming Leung (Job Captain), Chihiro Aoyama, Allison Austin, Jason Carney, David Goldschmidt, Aaron Kominos-Smith, Jinseuk Lee, Kangsoo Lee, Irene Molina, Marc Remshardt, Eric Smith, Xiaolu Zhou
Contractor: POSCO E&C
Associate Architect: Gansam Partners
Consulting Engineers: Arup & Partners
Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing & Lighting: Cosentini
Curtain wall: CDC
Facade Maintenance: Entek
Acoustical: Cerami
Project Area: 506,000 sqf





March 14, 2011

Towering Green Ambitions: A Manhattan skyscraper wraps a package of tightly coordinated technologies inside a faceted glass skin.

November 2010
Cook+Fox Architects

By Joann Gonchar, AIA

Bank of America Tower

The Bank of America Tower sits diagonally across from Bryant Park and next to 4 Times Square (bottom right-hand corner), the country’s first green commercial highrise.
Photo © David Sundberg/Esto

This past spring, the owners of the 55-story Bank of America Tower, which sits catty-corner from New York City’s Bryant Park, celebrated the building’s opening with a reception in the lobby—almost two years after the first occupants moved in. If the “opening” party seemed a bit anticlimactic, the event did mark an important milestone. It coincided with an announcement that the $1 billion, 2.2 million-square-foot tower had achieved Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Core & Shell rating system—making it the first U.S. skyscraper to achieve this designation.

Designed by Cook+Fox Architects and jointly owned by the developer, the Durst Organization, and the bank (which is also the lead tenant), the 1,200-foot-tall, glass-clad, steel-framed building rises from a 7-story podium that conforms to Manhattan’s street grid. It then tapers and seemingly twists to achieve a sleek, crystalline form. A host of integrated strategies helped the tower earn Platinum, including rainwater and graywater recycling, an advanced air filtration system, a concrete mix that replaces about 45 percent of the Portland cement in the foundations and core with blast furnace slag, and a cogeneration plant that produces both electricity and steam for on-site use.

The building has many green bells and whistles, to be sure. But these features were chosen on the basis of operational and economic criteria, as well as sustainability goals, say project team members. “The clients weren’t interested in demonstration technologies that wouldn’t work,” says Serge Appel, AIA, Cook+Fox project architect.

The developer was willing to consider unusual strategies, but not without thorough evaluation. Before settling on cogeneration for example, consultants vetted several other on-site energy generation technologies. They monitored wind velocities with an anemometer mounted on the roof of 4 Times Square (an adjacent Durst tower completed in 1999 and widely considered the first green commercial highrise in the U.S.). But the results showed that conditions were too gusty for wind turbines. They explored incorporating photovoltaics into the skin and the podium roof, and determined that both would be in shadow too much of the time. They investigated geothermal energy, but decided the site was too tight for the number of required wells. They even discussed generating methane from tenants’ paper waste in an anaerobic digester. However, the bank was worried about the security of its discarded documents.

They eventually implemented a 4.6 MW natural gas-fired cogeneration plant which went on-line this summer. It is expected to satisfy about 65 percent of the building’s annual electricity demand. The strategy, also known as combined heat and power (CHP), derives its efficiencies from making use of the heat that is a byproduct of the generation process. At the Bank of America, the heat is used to make steam, which in turn heats the building and its domestic water supply. It also is used to operate an absorption chiller for cooling.

As with most office buildings, the tower’s demand for electricity is lower during off hours. However, “the economics of the CHP would only make sense if it could run pedal to the metal 24-7,” says Scott Frank, PE, a partner at Jaros Baum & Bolles, the project’s mechanical engineer. So, in order to even out the load profile, designers included a 44-tank thermal energy storage system. It makes ice at night with excess electricity. During the day, the melting ice supplements building cooling. The team estimates that the CHP plant, working in concert with the energy storage system, will reduce daytime peak electricity demand by 30 percent.

The CHP plant, which designers say is the first large-scale installation of its type in a New York City office tower, was the building’s most logistically challenging feature to realize. The team needed to route natural gas lines through the densely occupied structure and isolate the equipment for noise and vibration. There was also a maze of permitting hurdles, including approvals from the fire department and the local utility.

Although the CHP plant was the most effort-intensive building system, other features also involved careful coordination. For instance, the project’s construction manager, Tishman, oversaw subcontractors installing base-building components of the underfloor air system, such as core wall cladding, corridor curbs, and perimeter fin-tube enclosures. Meanwhile, the tenants’ individual fitout contractors were responsible for installation of elements within the office spaces, including the raised floor panels. In order for the system to function properly, all needed to follow strict installation guidelines and maintain the air-tightness of the floor plenum.

For Gensler, the architect that designed the bank’s LEED Gold office space and trading floors, a key challenge was the limited availability of green materials when the firm started its work seven years ago. For example, principal Ej Lee wanted all of the wood in the millwork to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). But Lee and her team could not find suitable veneers and decided that only the substrate would be FSC-certified.

Another difficulty was devising a layout compatible with the client’s corporate culture that would also allow access to daylight and views for a majority of occupants. Gensler pushed for private offices positioned next to the building core and surrounded by open workstations. But the bank maintained that it would need perimeter offices to attract and retain executives. The realized scheme does have perimeter offices, but with all-glass fronts facing the rest of the interior floor area in order to limit obstruction of views and allow daylight penetration.

The tower’s exterior curtain wall is made up of floor-to-ceiling, double-lite insulated units of low-iron glass. To help control heat gain and glare, the units include a low-e coating as well as a ceramic frit that covers 60 percent of the glass where the curtain wall meets the floor and ceiling. The pattern gradually decreases in density toward the vision portion of each panel. Non-metallic spacers in the aluminum mullion system and extra mineral wool insulation at the floor slabs help achieve a U value for the assembly of 0.38—a thermal resistance that is better than most glass towers built in New York City over the last decade, but still below prescriptive code requirements.

Although a more solid facade would have likely provided greater thermal resistance, the team maintains that the all-glass skin was crucial to the building’s architectural expression and its economic model: The transparency “allowed us to get market-rate rents and invest in other [high-performance] systems,” explains Don Winston, PE, director of technical services at Durst.

Even with its crystalline curtain wall, the building’s energy model shows a 20.97 percent cost savings over a building designed to meet the 2004 version of ASHRAE 90.1, Appendix G, according to the project team. If only core and shell energy are considered (i.e., if the tenant spaces are excluded), the model indicates performance that is 54 percent better than the standard.

Winston has been monitoring the tower’s performance, and preliminary results indicate that it is operating more efficiently than the energy model. But without more data, he says, “I’m not confident to say just how much better.” Winston is committed to releasing the actual performance information, but not until the CHP plant has been up and running for at least a year. We hope he will share that data with us for publication in GreenSource.

Owner A joint venture between the Durst Organization and Bank of America
Project developer The Durst Organization
Design architect Cook+Fox Architects
Executive architect Adamson Associates Architects
Interior architect Gensler
Engineers Jaros, Baum & Bolles (mechanical); Severud Associates (structural); Mueser Rutledge Consulting (geotechnical)
Construction manager Tishman Construction Corporation
Code consultant JAM Consultants
Cogeneration design Waldron Engineering & Construction
Commissioning agent The Fulcrum Group
Exterior wall consultant Israel Berger & Associates
Energy/environmental consultant Viridian Energy & Environmental
LEED consultant e4 inc.
Lighting consultant Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design
Roofing and waterproofing Darius Toraby Architects
Solar design/photovoltaic consultant Solar Design Associates
Wind consultant altPower
Base building acoustician Shen Milsom & Wilke
Exterior maintenance consultant Entek Engineering

Structural system Owen Steel Corp.
Thermal storage Calmac Manufacturing Corp. Icebank
Cogeneration plant Solar Turbines Mercury 50
Underfloor air distribution Tate Access Floors
LED lighting IO Lighting

Bank of America Tower

The expansive Jerusalem stone-clad lobby helps tie the 1,200-foot-tall tower to the Earth and Manhattan’s street grid.
Photo © Cook+Fox Architects

Bank of America Tower

An open-tread stair connects the Bank of America’s trading floors on levels 3 through 6. The stair, and an illuminated red glass box, are visible from the street.
Photo © Paul Rivera/Archphoto

Bank of America Tower

Floor-to-ceiling glass in offices and the associated views were key selling points for the tower’s developer.
Photo © David Sundberg/Esto
Bank of America Tower
The bank occupies more than 75 percent of the tower, or about 1.6 million square feet. Its spaces include private perimeter offices, which have all-glass fronts to ensure access to daylight and views for employees occupying open office areas.
Bank of America Tower
Through the 20th floor, the Bank of America is square in plan with two small pieces of floor plate that cantilever to the east and west. The perimeter walls enclosing the floors above slope and cant. The resulting angular facets and irregularly shaped floor plates create a tapered effect and open up views to the diagonally adjacent Bryant Park and to surrounding buildings.
Bank of America Tower
Bank of America Tower

March 14, 2011

Light Bridges |Midway Plaisance, Chicago by ames Carpenter Design Associates with BauerLatoza Studio

from contractor website:

B&A is currently providing pre-construction services for The University of Chicago’s Midway Crossings project.The project includes the construction of a series of state-of-the-art pedestrian walkways located throughout the Midway on UofC’s historic hyde park campus.Pre-construction has included budgeting and mock-ups of the 50-foot tall light masts that will illuminate the Midway for students and residents.

The University of Chicago Midway Crossings

The University of Chicago Midway Crossings


posted by Blair Kamin 08 March 2011:

Right out of ‘Star Wars,’ a new way to light a path at U. of C.; 40-foot-tall light masts inspired by Olmsted’s vision for the Midway

You’ve heard of the Bean? Meet the Light Sabers.With a nod to the glowing weapon of choice in the “Star Wars” duels between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, University of Chicago students have pinned that affectionate nickname on the new, 40-foot-tall light masts (left) that traverse the Midway Plaisance.The stainless steel masts, which emit spectacular shafts of white light, are the most visible elements of a nearly-complete, roughly $8 million streetscape upgrade that has added lighted railings and widened sidewalks, making the once-daunting act of crossing the Midway feel safer and more pedestrian-friendly.At night, the masts evoke the storied, brilliantly-illuminated “White City” at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in nearby Jackson Park, where millions of Americans were introduced to street lights. And they are a huge improvement on the still-widespread Chicago street lights that cast a weird, yellow-orange glow.To see a simulated animation of the Light Bridges at the University of Chicago, clickhere, and go down the page to “Video Animation of Midway Crossings.”

“It’s better than just lamps,” said graduate business student James Bain as he crossed the Midway last week.

“They’re definitely growing on me,” said second-year student Claire O’Grady.

Located on Woodlawn and Ellis Avenues as those streets cross the Midway, the new features (left) were principally designed by New York artist James Carpenter, who worked with Chicago architects BauerLatoza and lighting consultants Schuler Shook. The design’s singular strength is that it is neither a precious work of public art nor a nuts-and-bolts piece of infrastructure, but an enlightened combination of the two, one that takes a major step toward turning the Midway into a bridge rather than a barrier.

Indeed, University of Chicago officials refer to the project (below) as the Light Bridges, a reference to landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s long-ago vision for the Midway.

Olmsted, who designed New York’s Central Park, wanted the sunken mid-section of the Midway to be a canal linking the lagoons of what are now Jackson and Washington Parks. But his dream, which called for the canal to be spanned by actual bridges, was never built.

Making the Midway more welcoming to pedestrians has taken on a high priority, particularly as the university expanded its presence south of the Midway, including a dorm that opened in 2009. For years, the greensward has formed a kind of demilitarized zone between the U. of C.’s cloistered, neo-Gothic quadrangles to the Midway’s north and the hard-edged, sometimes-dangerous Woodlawn neighborhood to its south.

“It’s a large distance, hard to cover in winter,” said Carpenter. “Anything you can do that suggests continuity and breaks down the scale, it makes an individual’s movement much more pleasant.”

He’s largely accomplished that aim with the light masts, which emit light for almost their entire length, unlike a conventional light post, which only sends light from the top down.

Each mast’s exterior consists of a base of stainless steel and a weave-like wrapping (above left) of the same material above it. The base conceals a metal halide fixture that shoots light upward through an inner plastic tube. When the fixture burns out, maintenance workers will slide the base upward to replace it. The design also allows the sun’s rays to penetrate the tube and to refract light, giving the masts daylight sparkle.

Like all good architecture, this design works well at different scales and serves purposes both practical and aesthetic.

The masts have a strong presence, but not so strong that it disrupts the Midway’s openness. They also build a visual bridge between the verticality and delicacy of neo-Gothic university towers like Rockefeller Chapel, which rises north of the Midway, and such steel-and-glass campus buildings as Mies van der Rohe’s School of Social Service Administration, which sits to the Midway’s south.

As one comes closer, the Light Bridges, true to their name, take on a subtle, bridge-like configuration as they pass over the Midway’s sunken middle zone. Their newly widened, curving sidewalks cantilever beyond their underlying superstructure. And when accent lights wash the overhangs at night, the walkways seem to float, making the suggestion of Olmsted’s un-built bridges unmistakable.

The extra-wide sidewalks encourage students to travel in groups, which should make them feel safe. The masts themselves (left) add to this sense of security. They create a rhythm and a series of visual focal points that used to be missing from the Midway. And they shine outward as well as downward.

“They provide greater lighting on the vertical surface of people’s faces,” said Schuler Shook partner Jim Baney. “If the light goes straight down, only to the pavement, you don’t feel as safe.”

Stainless steel railings, lit with LEDs, further break down the project to a human scale. Planter boxes separate pedestrians from car traffic, and they have a dynamic, curving geometry that relates well to the curving sidewalks, distinguishing them from Chicago’s coffin-shaped planters.

Still, there’s room for improvement. A third Light Bridge is needed at Dorchester Avenue, to the east of the present two, and rumble strips or cobblestones would do a lot to slow down the drivers who treat the Midway as a drag strip. Even so, this project stands as model for how lighting can change our perceptions of a moribund urban zone and bring it new life.



(Tribune photos by Brian Cassella)

from University website:

Construction of Midway Crossings

The Midway Crossings project is a series of streetscape improvements at the major intersections of Ellis and Woodlawn Avenues reaching from 59th to 60th Streets. The design is inspired by the original Frederick Law Olmsted concept of the Midway Plaisance as water link between Washington Park and Jackson Park with bridges traversing the Midway. Key design elements include lighting masts, railing and retaining walls providing sidewalk-level lighting, and landscape elements separating pedestrians from vehicular traffic.

Renderings courtesy of James Carpenter Design Associates

Project Manager: Desiree DiLucente
Architect: Bauer Latoza and James Carpenter Design Associates
Construction Manager: Bulley & Andrews

Project contact: Desiree DiLucente,

Past Milestones:

  • August 2010: Site mobilization
  • September 2010: Placement of barriers and delineation of temporary sidewalks and accessible routes; site demolition began

Upcoming Milestones:

  • Spring 2011: Target for project completion

Rendering – Night View Looking East

Rendering – Day View Looking East

Ellis Avenue – Construction Site and Temporary Barriers

Ellis Avenue – New Sidewalk Construction

Rendering – Midway Crossings



March 14, 2011

Light the Way: Three Exemplary Outdoor Projects

Whether night or day, lighting can transform little-used public spaces into desirable places. AN spotlights three new designs in the Midwest.
The University of Chicago's Light Bridges, during the day and at night, balance visibility with sensitivity to the existing park.


Light Bridges
Midway Plaisance, Chicago
James Carpenter Design Associates with BauerLatoza Studio and Schuler Shook

Since it was built, the Midway Plaisance has divided the cloistered campus of the University of Chicago from the adjacent Woodlawn neighborhood. In spite of their proximity, the two often feel worlds apart: the one, a bastion of Neo-Gothic academic buildings, while the other is a mixed-income residential neighborhood. Now, as the university expands into Woodlawn with new residences and academic facilities, bridging that divide has become a priority for the university in supporting quality of life for students, faculty, and staff. The effort is complicated by the fact that the Midway, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is part of the city’s treasured parks system. Changes will be scrutinized.

The university turned to New York–based studio James Carpenter Design Associates, known for their innovative use of lighting and glass, to design something that would help unite the two areas of the university without intruding too much on Olmsted’s parkland. Light became the obvious means of achieving that balance. “They’re intended to be thresholds of light, primarily visible at night, that add clarity to the crossing,” Carpenter said.

Light Bridges during the day at the University of Chicago.

Working with Chicago-based landscape architects BauerLatoza and lighting designers Schuler Shook, Carpenter’s Light Bridges, currently under construction, will traverse the Midway at Ellis and Woodlawn avenues. During the day, lighting for the pathway has a subtle presence, while at night it glows with a robust physicality, hence the name Light Bridge. The effect is achieved through a series of smart design moves. Linear LEDs wash the handrails and guardrails as well as the retaining walls in light, and a series of LED spotlights set in the sidewalk throw light upward.

The most distinctive elements of the Light Bridges are the “light masts,” vertical columns with varied illumination. A metal halide fixture shines light up and outward through a light pipe—a tube with reflective film—to a mirror at the top of the column that bounces light back down. The light pipe allows the single fixture to illuminate the entire light mast, which is wrapped in a series of metal rods surrounded by horizontal bands. These give the column their form while also acting as light diffusers. The horizontal bands are spaced variously so that light levels are diminished in the middle of the column and heightened at the top, making the Light Bridge visible from a distance.

“The Light Bridges are part of a larger plan to illuminate their buildings and streets,” Carpenter said. “They are trying to center activities, to use light to give them a special character.”

Alan G. Brake



Pappajohn Sculpture Park,
Des Moines
Agrest and Gandelsonas Architects with RDG Planning & Design

Built in an underused two-block park in downtown Des Moines, the Pappajohn Sculpture Park came into being when longtime residents John and Mary Pappajohn donated their esteemed sculpture collection to the Des Moines Art Center in 2007. The gift of 26 sculptures, including pieces by Joel Shapiro, Mark di Suvero, and Ellsworth Kelly, was appraised at $40 million. In terms of placing the city on the cultural map, however, the bequest’s value has been incalculable.

Iowa-based RDG Planning & Design collaborated with the project architect Agrest and Gandelsonas of New York to develop a lighting scheme for the 4.4-acre park that would both define a series of parabolic outdoor rooms and also illuminate the sculptures from dusk until dawn.

Lighting at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines.LIGHTING AT THE PAPPAJOHN SCULPTURE PARK IN DES MOINES.

“Lighting had to complement, not dominate, the site,” said Jonathan Martin, landscape architect with RDG. To eliminate the number of vertical poles in the park, almost every piece of art is lit from the ground. The design team worked with the Art Center to determine how each piece would be lit, making visits to the Pappajohn’s home to see the sculptures in person and test their mockups. Only one sculpture, Jaume Piensa’s Nomade, had specific directives from the artist about lighting. In all, the park contains more than 200 ceramic metal halide weatherproof lamps.

Because the park is completely open to downtown Des Moines, with official hours from sunrise to midnight, visitors are urged to observe artwork at night. “A sculpture that is very playful during the day may take on a more serious tone at night because of the way it’s lit,” said Martin. Unlit pathways eliminate the visual clutter of streetlamps, but also encourage patrons to stray from the path and see the artwork from more than one perspective. Streetlamps on sidewalks around the perimeter provide an ambient glow, just enough for security cameras to monitor park activity. In a setting where harsher lighting could have become a proxy for careful stewardship, instead each sculpture enjoys its own illuminated space within the darkness.

Jennifer K. Gorsche


The Riverwalk canopies illuminate a shadowy area under a bridge with washes of artificial light at night.

Chicago Riverwalk Canopies
Ross Barney Architects

When planning the Chicago Riverwalk, city officials realized that without protection, salt and water from bridges crossing overhead could pour down on pedestrians. So Carol Ross Barney and her team decided to make projective canopies that were also visual amenities, animating the shadowy areas under the bridges in addition to providing coverage overhead.

Made of stainless-steel tiles—the lower tiles are brushed steel, and the upper highly-polished—the canopies reflect the shimmer and movement of the river, creating dappled shadows on the Riverwalk. “It adds something contemporary and ethereal within the neoclassical language of the rest of the Riverwalk,” Ross Barney said. Currently in place under the Michigan Avenue and Wabash Avenue bridges, the canopies use natural light during daytime hours to transform the underside of the city’s beautiful, but utilitarian, infrastructure. Others, perhaps in a different form, will be added as additional phases of the Riverwalk are completed.

Riverwalk canopies reflect daylight under a bridge.

The reflective surfaces recall a contemporary Chicago icon, Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate. While Kapoor’s sculpture pulls the viewer into the skyline and the sky above, the canopies immerse the viewer in one of Chicago’s less appreciated natural features. “You feel like you’re in the river,” Ross Barney said. Unlike Kapoor’s perfect bean, the canopies are slightly wavy with visible seams. As Ross Barney noted, “It helps fragment the painting.”

When the sun sets, light pipes with metal-halide lamps set in the seams of the canopies wash their surfaces with light. Some of that light reflects down to the surface of the water, reversing the daytime effect. Metal-halide downlights provide additional illumination for pedestrians. “The results are very intriguing and fun,” she said.

Alan G. Brake