An international team led by London based artist Peter Fink (Form Associates) and lighting designer Mark Major (Speirs + Major) in association with Buro Happold in Los Angeles has been announced as the winner of the largest interactive green energy lighting project in North America. The San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge, built in 1969 in the spectacular context of the bay, has become a symbol of the San Diego area – just as the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges are symbols for San Francisco. The San Diego bridge is characterised by its graceful 2.5 mile long curved deck supported by over 30 towers reaching a height of 200 feet over the navigation channel. The shipping channels are spanned by the world’s longest continuous three-span box girder measuring 1,880 feet.
The lighting project is a partnership between the Port of San Diego and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), which operates and maintains the bridge. After an extensive period of evaluation, the Port Commissioners and Caltrans embraced a selection panel’s recommendation to choose the Peter Fink and Mark Major led team ahead of two other finalists, the Bideau Company of Ballan-Mire, France and Ned Kahn/Patrick McInerney Associates in association with ARUP.
The wining concept envisages illuminating the bridge with programmable LED lighting in an energy neutral manner using electricity generated by wind turbines. The lighting concept is designed to celebrate the spectacular Bay location of San Diego, and emphasize the bridge as an important gateway with programmable changing coloured light which expresses the movement of energy across and under the bridge. The variable rate of traffic flow over the bridge will be expressed by parapet lighting programmatically reflecting the direction, speed and intensity of vehicle movements on the deck. The lighting of the navigation span will express the nautical gateway function of the bridge and will have the capability to respond to the movement of larger ships. A distinct secondary layer of lighting accentuating the bridge pillars will provide the sense of urban connection between the two shores and celebrate the strong ties across the water body linking the communities of San Diego and the City of Coronado.