Architecture

London's bridges are lighting up

London's bridges are lighting ...
Adjaye & onedotzero's "Blurring Boundaries" proposal
Adjaye & onedotzero's "Blurring Boundaries" proposal
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Adjaye & onedotzero's "Blurring Boundaries" proposal
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Adjaye & onedotzero's "Blurring Boundaries" proposal
Cai Guo-Qiang's "London Bridge is Falling Down" installation at Tower Bridge as part of Adjaye Associates’ Blurring Boundaries proposal
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Cai Guo-Qiang's "London Bridge is Falling Down" installation at Tower Bridge as part of Adjaye Associates’ Blurring Boundaries proposal
Chris Ofili's "Invisible Ripples" installation at London Bridge as part of Adjaye Associates’ Blurring Boundaries proposal
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Chris Ofili's "Invisible Ripples" installation at London Bridge as part of Adjaye Associates’ Blurring Boundaries proposal
Doug Aitken's "Lightstream" installation at Chelsea Bridge as part of Adjaye Associates’ Blurring Boundaries proposal
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Doug Aitken's "Lightstream" installation at Chelsea Bridge as part of Adjaye Associates’ Blurring Boundaries proposal
Glenn Ligon's "Cross Road Blues" installation at Grosvenor Bridge as part of Adjaye Associates’ Blurring Boundaries proposal
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Glenn Ligon's "Cross Road Blues" installation at Grosvenor Bridge as part of Adjaye Associates’ Blurring Boundaries proposal
Jeremy Deller's "Day Glow Bridge" installation at Southwark Bridge) as part of Adjaye Associates’ Blurring Boundaries proposal
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Jeremy Deller's "Day Glow Bridge" installation at Southwark Bridge) as part of Adjaye Associates’ Blurring Boundaries proposal
AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
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AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
Chelsea Bridge as part of AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
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Chelsea Bridge as part of AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
The Thames at high tide as envisaged in AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
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The Thames at high tide as envisaged in AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
The Thames at low tide as envisaged in AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
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The Thames at low tide as envisaged in AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
Westminster Bridge as part of AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
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Westminster Bridge as part of AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
Westminster Bridge elevations as part of AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
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Westminster Bridge elevations as part of AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
A water screen with projected content at Chelsea Bridge as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
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A water screen with projected content at Chelsea Bridge as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
The span of London Bridge near fully illuminated as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
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The span of London Bridge near fully illuminated as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
A "Torch Relay" special event at London Bridge as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
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A "Torch Relay" special event at London Bridge as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
A performance during low-tide at Waterloo Bridge as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
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A performance during low-tide at Waterloo Bridge as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
Vertical beams light as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
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Vertical beams light as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
Westminster Bridge fully lit as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
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Westminster Bridge fully lit as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
Chelsea Bridge as part of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
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Chelsea Bridge as part of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
London Bridge as part of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
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London Bridge as part of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
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Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
Waterloo Bridge as part of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
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Waterloo Bridge as part of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
Westminster Bridge as part of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
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Westminster Bridge as part of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
Another view of Westminster Bridge as part of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
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Another view of Westminster Bridge as part of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
Waterloo Bridge as part of Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
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Waterloo Bridge as part of Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
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Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
Westminster Bridge as part of Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
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Westminster Bridge as part of Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
London Bridge as part of Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
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London Bridge as part of Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
Chelsea Bridge as part of Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
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Chelsea Bridge as part of Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
Art installations as part of Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
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Art installations as part of Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
Chelsea Bridge as part of Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens' "Thames Nocturne" proposal
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Chelsea Bridge as part of Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens' "Thames Nocturne" proposal
London Bridge as part of Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens' "Thames Nocturne" proposal
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London Bridge as part of Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens' "Thames Nocturne" proposal
Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens' "Thames Nocturne" proposal
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Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens' "Thames Nocturne" proposal
Waterloo Bridge as part of Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens' "Thames Nocturne" proposal
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Waterloo Bridge as part of Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens' "Thames Nocturne" proposal
Westminster Bridge as part of Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens' "Thames Nocturne" proposal
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Westminster Bridge as part of Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens' "Thames Nocturne" proposal
View gallery - 35 images

The bridges along the River Thames in London are to be lit up as a major piece of public art. Six proposals have been shortlisted as part of the Illuminated River competition, which is aimed not only at delivering visually outstanding designs, but ones that make use of new technologies.

The project was launched in June and has funding of £10 million (US$12.4 million) pledged to it so far. It will see 17 bridges illuminated from Chelsea to London's financial district celebrating the river and making it more a part of London's night-time economy.

"Since the founding of London, the mighty Thames has been the city's main artery, linking north and south, east and west, encouraging business, activity and recreation," explains chair of the Illuminated River Foundation, Hannah Rothschild. "But at night, the river becomes a ribbon of darkness, a place that few enjoy and at odds with the ambition to make London a 24-hour city. This project will bring light, energy, beauty and recreation to the river and at the flick of a switch, transform the city at night."

Chris Ofili's "Invisible Ripples" installation at London Bridge as part of Adjaye Associates’ Blurring Boundaries proposal
Chris Ofili's "Invisible Ripples" installation at London Bridge as part of Adjaye Associates’ Blurring Boundaries proposal

The first of the six shortlisted proposals, "Blurring Boundaries," would see each of the bridges individually re-imagined with installations of their own. The aim of these would be to celebrate the bridges as being central to the cohesion of London in both literal and social senses. They would be accompanied by pavilions, such as lookout towers, loggias and a new auditorium.

Westminster Bridge as part of AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal
Westminster Bridge as part of AL_A's "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" proposal

"The Eternal Story of the River Thames" is aimed at refocusing attention on the river as a natural, rather than man-made, part of London. It would see the river wall illuminated, the undersides of the bridges lit up at low-tide and lighting installed on the bridges to show their profiles at high tide.

Vertical beams light as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal
Vertical beams light as part of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" proposal

"Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms" would also seek to highlight natural cycles. At dusk, the spans of the bridges would gradually fill with light from their outsides inwards, after which a beam of light would shoot upwards into the sky from the center of each bridge. The timing would be based on the geographical location of each bridge and the rotation of the Earth.

Westminster Bridge as part of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal
Westminster Bridge as part of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' "Current" proposal

Leo Villareal's "Current" proposal would see colorful interactive lighting adorn each bridge, as well as commercial lighting installed along the banks of the river. A partnership to deliver additional installations would also be developed.

Westminster Bridge as part of Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal
Westminster Bridge as part of Les Éclairagistes Associés' "A River Ain’t Too Much To Light" proposal

"A River Ain't Too Much To Light" would see the bridges illuminated gradually as daylight fades and lampposts installed in the river marking its path. The lampposts would become less or more visible depending on the height of the tide and would be reproductions of original lampposts from around the world, reflecting the mix of cultures within London.

Chelsea Bridge as part of Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens' "Thames Nocturne" proposal
Chelsea Bridge as part of Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens' "Thames Nocturne" proposal

The final shortlisted proposal, "Thames Nocturne," would see a "ribbon of light" connecting Chelsea to Wapping. Light would be shone bidirectionally from bridge to bridge by way of lighting devices installed across the bridge spans. The "weave" of light-beams would react to the behaviour of the river based on real-time measurements, subsequently rising and falling like the water and the tide.

The six proposals were chosen from a total of 105 entries by an independent jury. Another jury, with help from a technical advisory panel, will also choose the overall winner, which is due to be announced on December 8th. The proposals will be on display for three weeks in the Illuminated River Exhibition at London's Royal Festival Hall from this Wednesday.

Source: The Illuminated River

View gallery - 35 images
3 comments
3 comments
Helios
Just the sort of stupidity that has contributed to our current situation of climate change. We could instead avert wasting megawatts of electricity by the "flip of a switch" and begin again to live by the natural cycles of the planet. Rise when the sun rises, retire when the sun sets. We should never endeavour to live a 24/7 existence. It is bad for the planet and nocturnal ecosystems, and for humans. The night sky and billions of stars above are infinitely more intriguing anyway than LEDs. The naturally dark night sky is also a public good that should be protected by civil rights laws. Light pollution is a negative externality, no different than air or water pollution. The ignorance exhibited in this endeavour is stunning.
ljaques
Combining Light Pollution with Wasting Taxpayer Dollars has become a trend all over the world. This is very sad. Something like this light show is pretty once, but weird lighting on an actively travelled bridge at night can also be unsafe. I keep urging my neighbors to use motion sensors instead of dawn-to-dusk floodlights to prevent light pollution. One neighbor 1/4 mile away has a security light which lights up the inside of my house at night. @Helios, remember that to government entities a "negative" outcome means that -nothing- bad happened, so they will OK the project. You will need to learn to speak to them using their own terminology if you expect to do any good fighting this.
Bob Flint
Well said Helios... Spend the money on better maintenance of our crumbling infrastructure instead.