The University of Chicago's historic north campus is separated from its new south campus by the Midway, a green expanse that dates back to the 1893 World's Columbian Expedition. While pleasant parkland during the day, at night the area presented the perfect environment for illicit activity. To remedy this, the university wanted to establish a safe and inviting passage across the expanse that would connect the two campuses and protect its students. It hired a consortium of designers—including James Carpenter Design Associates, Bauer Latoza Studio, and Schuler Shook—to provide a secure, light-filled crossing.

The team developed a series of vandal-resistant, custom-designed stainless-steel masts, handrails, and sidewalk luminaires that form a procession across the Midway. In the base of the 40-foot-tall masts, 3000K 315W ceramic metal halide T9 lamps direct light through 360-degree light pipes. These masts are constructed from stainless-steel rings that disperse light outward. The designers manipulated the rings to create a variation in the intensity of the light along the elevation of the mast that goes from light to dark and back to light again. The rings are more densely spaced at the bottom of the masts, providing visual comfort for pedestrians, and less densely spaced at the top to create the illusion of equal illumination at both ends. Reflectors at the top of the masts maximize efficiency and cut down on light pollution.

The handrails conceal 4W-per-linear-foot LED strips, and 12W LED fixtures at the sidewalk base uplight hammered-reflectors that create pools of light marching down the path.

Jury Comments: An inventive solution, beautifully done. • The integration of the fixtures creates a sense of place where once there was none.


Project: Midway Crossings, the University of Chicago, Chicago
Architect: James Carpenter Design Associates, New York
Landscape Architect: Bauer Latoza Studio, Chicago
Lighting Designer: Schuler Shook, Chicago
Lighting Integrator: Square One Precision Lighting, Stone Park, Ill.
Photographer: Tom Rossiter
Project Size: 76,000 square feet
Project Cost: $7 million
Lighting Cost: $2.5 million
Watts per Square Foot: 0.25
Manufacturers: i2Systems, Insight Lighting, Lumiere (Cooper Lighting)