The City of Lynn, Massachusetts has faced challenging economic, demographic and perceptual circumstances for decades. Recent initiatives, such as the involvement of the City in MassDevelopment’s “Districts in Development” program have highlighted the latent opportunities for improvement in the City. Notably, they sought to improve walkability in the downtown area, increase safety, and inspire greater community engagement.
Neighborhood meetings and feedback from residents and business owners revealed a desire for more public art and more light on underpasses and the sidewalks to increase walkability. The community made it clear that they believed art could make downtown safer and improve local commerce. Thus, this community formed a non-profit called Beyond Walls and began a campaign focused on three key urban interventions: Street-Art Murals, Vintage Neon Sign Art and Dynamic Underpass Lighting.
Payette joined the program in 2016 with LAM Partners to work on the design of underpass lighting and provided Beyond Walls with renderings that illustrate the project’s potential for the city.
Photo Credit: Beyond Walls
Merging art, history and technology, Beyond Walls restored and displayed vintage neon artwork from the collection of Dave Waller of Brickyard VFX. These artifacts of classic commercial Americana have been dusted off, spruced up and displayed in all their retro glory. Newly mounted on downtown buildings or displayed in storefronts throughout the downtown cultural district, these nostalgic pieces evoke the heyday of Lynn’s commercial and industrial past. Illumination from these pieces brings greater light and increases the walkability and economic vitality of downtown Lynn.
Photo Credits: Beyond Walls
The underpass lighting project was the most ambitious of these initiatives, requiring extensive coordination with regulatory agencies and the expertise of dozens of design professionals and tradesmen. By late 2017, Beyond Walls had cultivated a team ready to take on this great undertaking and they began work to brighten and activate the underside of the shadowy overpasses with dynamic LED lighting installations.
Encompassing an area of 16,000 SF, the Underpasses of Central Square, Washington Street, and Market Street now have an exciting and visually compelling field of dynamic and color changing full-spectrum lighting that not only delights the eye, but contributes to pedestrian safety along the undersides of this public infrastructure. These once-avoided areas have become vibrant landmarks in downtown Lynn, where people feel safe and welcome any time of day or night.
Photo Credit: Warren Jagger
Photo Credit: Beyond Walls
The $1.2M project was funded by gifts, grants and in-kind labor and equipment donations. While the initial installation was donated to the City, additional care was taken to ensure that long-term costs were not onerous. The high-efficiency Philips LED fixtures consume only as much energy as sixteen of the City’s street lights.
To support the City of Lynn in the long-term performance of this permanent lighting installation, the project team has developed a Maintenance and Service Plan and is providing full system programming services for a transitional period of three years to ensure the city has the capability to sustain this new resource.
In addition, in collaboration with the City of Lynn, the lighting team is currently developing a free smartphone app, slated for release in the fall of 2018, which would allow anyone in the vicinity of the installation to choose lighting scenes and dynamic sequences, much like queuing up songs on a jukebox.
We cannot wait to see how this space continues to transform over time.
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Lighting it Up in Lynn, MA!
Beyond Walls Mural Festival
Beyond Walls Facebook