r+d LAB (rootoftwo + daub-lab) is one of three teams selected to develop public art and light projects for the undersides of three viaducts located in Midtown Detroit’s TechTown district.
Created for the Midtown Viaducts Public Art + Light Project (MIDVIA) with funding from the New Economy Initiative and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, r+d LAB’s project, “Resonance”, will transform Detroit’s historic Second Avenue viaduct into a vibrant pedestrian walkway.
“r+d LAB is committed to working to generate creative, environmentally responsive, and innovative solutions to Detroit’s urban challenges,” says John Marshall, principal, r+d LAB. “Built in 1934, the once magnificent Second Avenue viaduct had been poorly maintained and lacked adequate lighting, contributing to perceptions of the district as unsafe. We wanted to create a space that would make tangible the movement and meeting of passersby and amplify way-finding with light, transforming the experience and usability of the space.”
Resonance builds on the naturally occurring bands of dark and light created by the viaduct’s arched openings, amplifying this sequential lighting and patterning as the user moves deeper into the space and in response to the presence of multiple people.
Consisting of 22 LED light boxes mounted on the viaduct walls and ceiling between each viaduct archway, Resonance increases the amount of available illumination the farther into the space one walks from either side. Each LED unit will have a range of sensors that trigger the lighting in response to the number, speed and direction of pedestrians in the space. This will generate a ‘pressure wave’ of increased illumination in advance of people as they walk. This wave will then burst and diffuse in a cascade of ripples when it meets the wave of someone coming from the opposite direction.
“From low-tech to interactive light experiences, the work of these artist teams exemplifies experimentation and new ideas, further positioning TechTown as an innovation district,” says Susan Mosey, President of Midtown Detroit, Inc., the organization administering the MIDVIA.
Resonance will begin construction summer 2015.
MIDVIA (Midtown Viaducts Public Art + Light Project) is one of the recommended interventions stemming from the TechTown District Plan which aims to improve safety, accessibility and placemaking efforts in the area. Midtown Viaducts partners include: the New Economy Initiative, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Midtown Detroit, Inc., the City of Detroit, Consolidated Rail Corporation, and CN Rail. http://www.midtownviaducts.com
Midtown Detroit Inc. is a nonprofit planning and development organization that supports the physical maintenance and revitalization of the Midtown Detroit neighborhood, while working to enhance public awareness, appreciation and use of the district. http://midtowndetroitinc.org/
The New Economy Initiative, a special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, is the largest economic development initiative of its kind working to build a network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Our mission is to create an inclusive, innovative regional culture by reawakening and leveraging Detroit’s creative entrepreneurial drive. http://neweconomyinitiative.org/
The Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. http://www.knightfoundation.org/