Sep '09 - Dec '11
As part of our bridge project, we are taking a short workshop in urban lighting conditions to study the impact of designed lighting, function lighting, artificial light, private light, and special lighting. It's a pretty important subject for both night transportation and creating an urban space that can be viably used even in the night.
You don't really realise how important urban lighting is until you live in Copenhagen in this season. The sun angle is very low in the winter, (~10 degrees above the horizon on Dec. 21), and the sun sets between 3:30 and 4pm. That is, if you can see the sun. Most of the time it is cloudy and raining, so the atmosphere of an average day is a constant twilight darkness.
All of a sudden, you become aware of what buildings are lit up, which streets have good lighting, how some lights can blind you and others are too dim. Because my main mode of transport is bicycle, you can feel very small and insignificant with just a tiny blinking LED on the front of the bike, in a vast, dark road.
Copenhagen is a pretty dark city when it comes to lighting. They use wires to hang circular lights over the roads, and they are a dim, orangey color. There is a big tradition of putting light shades over everything, to prevent lights from blinding people. I think also the wet roads and sidewalks reflect light in a kind of eerie way, so things become dimly lit from below.
Anyways, our assignment was to examine an existing bridge in Copenhagen and analyze both the designed lighting scheme of the bridge, and the surrounding light conditions.
Our group studied the Langeliniebroen, near Osteport Station in Copenhagen:
The flow of the lights (both from trains and other traffic) below the bridge, and the long line of the handrail lighting crossing all these paths:
The lighting scheme of the bridge: It's amazing what you can do with photoshop, google earth, and the eraser tool....
Other lighting conditions of the area:
Sections showing the light spread and distribution (had LUX measurements on it in the presentation, this one's just blank)
And finally, looking from the context of the bridge to the surrounding area of the train station:
It was really good to look at the city with this new set of eyes. That's one thing I really love about architecture school: you are constantly looking around you in wonder at all the levels and layers of the city you live in... it makes me feel like I really belong here somehow.
Later this week, Rogier van der Heide from the Netherlands will be here to speak with us about some of his projects and to give a further workshop in light. He's been called the Master of Light by Metropolis magazine, and I'm inclined to agree...
So, pretty excited for his visit. We have about 3 weeks left to finish our bridge projects, and then I'm going to Barcelona and London for Christmas/New Years. Very exciting!