To connect its group headquarters' office buildings, separated by one of the busiest streets in Bonn, Germany, Deutsche Telekom knew it needed to construct a bridge to facilitate pedestrian crossing. So the telecom giant looked to architecture firm Schlaich Bergermann und Partner and lighting design firm Licht Kunst Licht to design something that would be functional, but also create a piece of urban architecture.
The bridge's design responds to the site. Supported by five slim steel columns, it gently curves a span of approximately 243 feet as it crosses over four traffic lanes and two tram tracks. A suspended stair and a 36-foot-tall elevator tower anchors each end of the bridge. Linear LED profiles with a narrow beam distribution—to prevent glare from the traffic below— are integrated into the underside of all the handrails with a neutral white light. By day the light is undetectable, but at night the bridge unfolds, like an illuminated ribbon floating above the roadway.
Along the sides of the bridge is a custom string of LED video displays that play a series of light matrix patterns. The high luminous density of 7,000 cd/m2 is visible throughout the day, but at night the light is dimmed to 30 percent to calibrate to the nighttime surrounds.
Continuing the artistic thread, neutral white LEDs are mounted at the top and bottom edges of the elevator towers to create a diffuse glow against the opal glass cladding. At night an interactive feature is triggered, and the light changes from white to amber as it detects a person walking by. People can change the direction of the light by altering their movement. Featuring a lighting solution that is at once practical and artistic, the Telekom Bridge is meant to be a transitional space, but its luminous qualities make it a destination point in its own right.
Jury Comments: An elegant and focused lighting solution. • The interactive lighting feature on the elevator towers and the scrolling lighting matrix across the bridge transform this project from something ordinary into something noteworthy.