Alley of Light
Alumni of the environmental design faculty (EVDS), Chris vander Hoek and Maria Landry along with UBC student Eugene Dening, have won Alley of Light Project for their recycled modular lighting system.
A grassroots initiative, the Alley of Light Project aims to revitalize underused park and alley space in half a block north of Jasper Avenue downtown Edmonton.
The alley, identified by residents, businesses and volunteers as ‘lost space’, is an under-utilized, non-vital city-space marked by garbage and graffiti. Inspired by other cities around the world, the Alley of Light Project aims to revitalize the space by making it more engaging, accessible, safe and sustainable.
EVDS’ Master of Architecture (MArch) alumni, vander Hoek and Landry along with their friend Dening, a UBC architecture student, earned first place for their submission, UrDU: Urban DiffUser.
The modular light system, when assembled, becomes a membrane and passageway to the park. Acting as an illuminated beacon to pedestrian and car traffic, the membrane enhances the movement and vibrancy of the park by receiving and projecting shadows of passersby.
“UrDU is experienced on several different scales,” says Landry. “Initially, one sees it as a glowing structure. When one comes closer, its lightness and materiality become evident. Not only is it a visual experience, but its texture elicits the sense of touch, creating interest on a smaller scale. As you explore the interior space, your shadow is projected onto the exterior faces, activating the installation for those around it.”
The structure itself is created from reused fluorescent light diffuser panels that have been closed into cylindrical forms and stacked in a brick-like manner.
“Our project was very different from the other submissions,” says vander Hoek. “UrDU is a spatial installation rather than a stand-alone object. One of our initial goals was to create something that considered the site and contributed to the urban space, making a more vibrant space for its users. We wanted to create a prototype which could potentially be deployed in any public space beyond the scope of the competition, contributing towards the vibrancy of public space in the city.”