In physics, resonance is the tendency of a system to oscillate with greater amplitude at some frequencies than others. At these frequencies, even small interventions can produce large amplitude oscillations, because the system stores energy.
Resonance builds on the existing condition to add light for safety but does so in a way that has a much greater experiential impact. On approach to the existing Second Avenue viaduct, the impression is of alternating bands of light and dark. This banding occurs because of the arched openings between pedestrian and vehicular zones. The greenway interrupts the passage with a larger gap of light during the day and with the artificial street light at night. Resonance takes this light and dark banding as a starting point and amplifies this effect throughout the space while increasing the impact by intensifying the forced perspective.
Resonance will consist of an array of 24" wide LED light boxes mounted on the walls and ceiling of the Second Avenue viaduct. These 22 light boxes amplify the banding of light and dark in the viaduct. These units will be located between each archway, enhancing the experience of passing through the viaduct. As well as illuminating the space, the system will provide a destination for visitors and an improved experience for pedestrian flow. Resonance is designed to increase the amount of available illumination the deeper into the space one goes.
On approach from either side, perspective foreshortening will give the impression of the pedestrian thorough ways as 'boxes of light'. Each unit will have a range of sensors that trigger the lighting in response to the number, speed and direction of motion of pedestrians in the space. For example, this could give the impression of a 'pressure wave' of increased illumination in advance of people as they would through that bursts and diffuses in a cascade of ripples when it meets the wave in advance of someone coming from the opposite direction. These sensors and responses introduce feedback to the system in real-time, seasonally or as determined by specific events.
Submitted for the Midtown Viaducts Public Art + Light Project Competition and sponsored by the New Economy Initiative and Midtown Detroit Inc.
team: r + d LAB / Cezanne Charles / Karl Daubmann / John Marshall / Patrick Ethen