Entering Nashville, Tenn., across the Cumberland River, you traverse the city’s Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge, a 1,660-foot, clear-span, through-arch structure that was completed in 2004 and serves as the city’s gateway for more than 17,000 drivers who cross it each day. Originally named the Gateway Bridge, it was rededicated in 2006 to honor the more than 134,000 Tennesseans who served during the Korean War. Less than a decade later, the technological possibilities afforded by advancement in LEDs rendered the bridge’s lighting systems obsolete, and the city’s Metro Public Works engineering division led an effort to relight the bridge under the guidance of New York–based Domingo Gonzalez Associates (DGA).
The DGA team was presented with a number of challenges: a compressed timeline, minimal budget, engineering requirements for allowable fixture attachment to the structure, and the need to reduce energy consumption by a minimum of almost 50 percent. Modeling tools allowed the team to present renderings with a high degree of fidelity to the bridge stakeholders within the 11-month sprint from concept to completion. Although the budget did not include replacement of existing streetlights, DGA was able to re-aim those in such a way as to reduce light pollution and glare. DGA achieved the fixture attachment requirements by clamping luminaires to the structure in lieu of bolting.
The bridge deck, which is painted a deep scarlet color, glows under continuous 3000K linear LED luminaires that accentuate the structural girders that support the 571-foot-long, 102-foot-wide clear span. Cool-white wide-beam floodlights enliven the 72 cables that suspend the bridge deck. Clamp-mounted linear RGB LED fixtures light the arches, and wireless controls allow programmable scenes to deviate from white to denote holidays and commemorate events.
To meet the maintenance demands and budgetary restrictions of this municipal project, individually addressable luminaires are also individually replaceable. The end result is an energy-efficient lighting solution that produces a rhythmic, glowing gateway to Music City that will welcome visitors for decades to come.
Project: Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge, Nashville, Tenn. • Client: Metro Nashville Public Works, Nashville, Tenn. • Architect: Not Applicable • Lighting Designer: Domingo Gonzalez Associates, New York • Team Members: Domingo Gonzalez, Nancy Lok, Phat Quach • Photographer: Bob Schatz • Project Size: 169,320 square feet • Project and Lighting Costs: $2.3 million (each) • Watts per Square Foot: 0.24 • Code Compliance: Not Applicable • Manufacturers: Acuity Brands/Holophane, Acuity Brands/ Winona, North Star Lighting
A striking image in the landscape. • Shielding of the fixtures is unified. • Lighting serves as a continuum that accents the architectural form.