The lighting design created by Sutton Vane Associates for a rather neglected railway bridge in Haringey, London, shows how a relatively small-scale project can bring about a dramatic improvement in the urban environment. Washed with blue light, the Bruce Grove Bridge has been transformed into a local landmark by providing an appealing, attractive thoroughfare both by day and by night.
Located near the Bruce Grove Station, the bridge is part of the GLA (Greater London Authority) funded initiative “Growth on the High Road”, which features a series of wider environmental improvements in the Tottenham High Road area. These projects promoted by Haringey Council and led by architects Adams & Sutherland, are a great example of how small changes can contribute to an enhanced sense of place and to local identity. Besides looking tatty and unattractive, the Bruce Grove railway bridge was also seen as rather unsafe for pedestrians, especially at night.
Working closely with local stakeholders, Adams & Sutherland decided to turn this rundown structure into a positive feature. The bridge was repainted in blue and the name of the station is now emblazoned across it, giving it an identity as well as providing direction. Sutton Vane Associates, supported by the environmental engineers Freeman Beesley, were then given the task of maximising the restoration of the bridge at night. The plan was simple: to bathe the underside of the bridge in blue light to reinforce the effect of the new paint, and transform it into a beacon that is fast establishing itself as a local landmark.
The blue light is provided by Linealuce Compact luminaires with blue LEDs controlled by photocells that ensure the lighting only comes on as the natural light fades. While the concept is simple, the installation process turned out to be quite complex. The bridge is a working railway bridge, so there are stringent regulations as to what can be installed on to the structure, making the cabling technically challenging. As a matter of fact, the luminaires were installed on the walls supporting the bridge, and the two continuous lines of lighting were powered separately, so no cables had to be passed directly along it. The finished project succeeded in transforming a small, neglected area into an emphatic and attractive feature of the urban landscape: Social innovation through lighting.
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