Beyond Walls: Payette Lights Up Lynn with Pro Bono Display

Photo Credit: Beyond Walls image by Warren Jagger Photography

BY ERIC BALDWIN 

Architecture and design studio Payette designed an underpass lighting project for Lynn, Massachusetts. Lynn is one of 26 Gateway Cities in Massachusetts, urban centers that anchor regional economies and are facing social and economic challenges. The project brightens and activates with dynamic, colorful and programmable LED lighting installations.

Back in 2016, MassDevelopment authored a Downtown Action Plan for Lynn, which has led to the installation of 30 new street-art murals, eight restored neon signs and new underpass lighting at three key public sites. Payette participated in Design Museum Boston’s “Urban Innovation Hackathon” to revitalize a dilapidated area under the I-93 overpass, where four diverse Boston neighborhoods intersect. With this experience, the firm joined forces with MassDevelopment, Patronicity and Beyond Walls to tackle Lynn’s underpass lighting challenge.

Poor visibility in the dark underpasses produced an unwelcoming and dangerous condition. Now the underpasses have color-changing, full-spectrum lighting that contributes to pedestrian safety. Merging art, history and technology, Beyond Walls restored and displayed vintage neon artwork in Downtown Lynn. These nostalgic pieces are evocative of the heyday of Lynn’s commercial and industrial past. With an inaugural mural festival in 2017, Beyond Walls brought artists from around the world to paint walls in downtown Lynn, reflecting the diverse demographics of the Lynn populace.

In collaboration with the City of Lynn, the lighting team is developing a free smartphone app that would allow anyone in the vicinity of the installation to choose lighting scenes and dynamic sequences. Encompassing an area of 16,000 SF across three underpasses and a pedestrian arcade, the LED Lighting initial installation was donated to the City. The high-efficiency LED fixtures consume only as much energy as sixteen of the city’s street lights.

Lighting Consultant: LAM Partners

Electrical Engineer: BALA Consulting Engineers

Lighting Controls: Port Lighting

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