Can our urban environments become sentient participants in our daily lives? can these immersive spaces activate otherwise neglected voids?

Fall 2015 Update: After an international design competition (drawing over 250 competitors) Future Cities Lab has been awarded the commission to design and build "Lightweave" in Washington DC's NOMA neighborhood. See the article on the Curbed DC website. On 13-14 July 2015 we presented the project to several community groups and stakeholders. On 17 Sept Jason presented the project to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and subsequently received full approval from the commission on 24 Sept 2015. We are currently working with the NOMA Parks Foundation, Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, our contractor MC Dean, and other partners to complete the project by fall 2017.

Lightweave translates ambient sounds from the site into dynamic auroras of patterned light. Slowly changing lighting effects are activated by the noise and vibration of passing trains, cars and other sounds from the neighborhood. Lightweave animates the underpass with variable intensities of illumination and creates a meditative and interactive experience. 
Typical sound events in the immediate area range from 50dB+ (passing automobiles in the tunnel) to 100dB+ (train horns). Lightweave translates these sound events into fluid wave patterns of light. Similar to dropping a single pebble into an undisturbed pond, waves of light slowly oscillate through the Lightweave. Multiple sounds will create dynamic visual overlaps. The quality and placement of lighting elements will enhance safety and comfort. Ambient light levels can also be increased during the evening and will enhance the overall ambiance of the area to ensure visibility of pedestrians by motorists.

Location: Washington, DC 
Design: Future Cities Lab, San Francisco - Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno
Team: Jason Kelly Johnson, Nataly Gattegno, Ripon DeLeon, Fernando Amenedo, Jeff Maeshiro
Fabrication: MACHINIC Digital Fabrication & Consulting, San Francisco
Competition Collaborators: ARUP (Lighting), ENDRE Engineering (Structural), Tektonics Architecture and Fabrication


Spring 2015 Update: FCL's Proposal is currently a finalist entry in the NOMA Underpass Design Competition in Washington D.C. Read more about the competition initiative in this Washington Post article "D.C.’s NoMa rail project finalist designs revealed".