Project in Pictures: After Dark

Simplicity can be deceiving. The glow of the CF Toronto Eaton Centre Bridge is the result of a technically challenging LED lighting design by Speirs + Major in conjunction with Mulvey & Banani International Inc. Integrated into the deck, the lighting required a high level of collaboration on the choice of surface textures and siting details to help conceal the passageway’s sources of light. Enhancing the structure’s twisting architecture, the lighting creates an impressive nighttime journey between the buildings it connects.

Photos: James Brittain & Speirs + Major

The image of the bridge after dark contributes landmark value to the location. A very soft line of light across the deck encourages movement through space without competing with the architectural form.

Pedestrians are enveloped in the lighting’s glow. Lighting integrated into the deck enhances the torque and twist of the bridge’s surfaces and joints in a simple and “effortless” reveal of the unique geometry. As the proportion of glazing increases near the Eaton Centre, glow from the soft frit to the glass helps to soften and balance the effect of this transition from the opaque (heritage) to the transparent (modern).

Overhanging the sidewalk is a backlit soffit, an important visual aspect in the streetscape. The lighting equipment is housed in an independent mounting system beneath the bridge deck, simplifying access for maintenance. It contains a pulley arrangement so that the light tape housed within a custom formed tube can be rolled in and out from the side of the bridge.

Opposing views from the entrance to the Eaton Centre and Hudson’s Bay building show how the shifting geometrical stripes revealed in light creates an immersive experience.

The view of the city from the bridge is carefully preserved through the design. The public response to the bridge has been exceptional, with buzz being generated on architectural blogs and social media.

Photos: James Brittain & Speirs + Major