LOCATION: Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
CLIENT: Kentucky Department of
Transportation, Louisville Downtown
TEAM: Carman Architects
The historic cantilevered truss bridge, locally known as Second Street Bridge, crosses the Ohio River. The approach road was transformed into a plaza with plantings, seats and, pedestrian spaces to host festivals and celebrations, shaded by the dynamically illuminated overpass. The objective was to transform the off-ramp into a vibrant promenade.
The underside of the bridge is enhanced with a floating effect of cast light; outlining and illuminating the I-beam surfaces and textures. The duo-tone lighting color scheme – red and gold – is projected upon a buttercream paint color coating “canvas”. These selections are based on a celebration of amber liquid bourbon and the colors of sunset.
Street lighting, also designed by Light Projects is enhanced at night for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers on Whisky Row, where the brightened bridge fascia appears as a visual destination. On the face of the bridge pointing toward Washington and Witherspoon, a line of bright beacons is programmed in dynamic and rhythmic sequences which chase up and down Second Street each hour to count-down the hour – from sunset to midnight on weekdays, and sunset to 2:00 AM on Friday and Saturday. The hourly sequences bring the old I-beam structure to life, as if the bridge itself is breathing, when looking up and toward the Ohio River.)
To keep costs down, this design is notable for the use of standard fluorescent lights – most often found in offices and industrial locations. An ambiance of warmth and animation is created by combining color filters controlled by an advanced programming system. The beacons can also be seen on Paris’ Eiffel Tower.