In downtown Denver, a $4.7 billion redevelopment of Union Station will create a bustling urban center and multimodal transit hub that integrates light rail, commuter rail, Amtrak, and bus service, as well as new private development and public spaces.
The project is already taking shape with completion of its first phase: Light Rail Plaza, which comprises the new light rail station plus 40,000 square feet of outdoor plaza space.
To provide a pleasant experience for daily commuters, the plaza includes nine teardrop-shaped bench planters that incorporate softscape, shade plantings and seating while channeling pedestrian traffic and limiting vehicular access. Underlit with iLight Plexineon White 1X Series linear LED luminaires, the planters also add drama to the dynamic new public realm after nightfall.
Dane Sanders, Principal at Clanton & Associates, specified Plexineon to illuminate the sculptural shape of the planters, which were designed by Hargreaves Associates, the landscape architect.
"We needed a durable product that would be long-lasting and reinforce safety and security in this public space," he says.
Having used Plexineon before, "I knew it could be bent to follow the curved form," Sanders says, adding that the electrical contractor, however, was skeptical. "He was concerned about bending the LED product in the field."
Addressing that apprehension, Sanders says, "iLight was really great about providing 8-foot product samples for the contractors to mock-up and test the field bending capability." The iLight team also coordinated with Hargreaves Associates to integrate flush-to-grade power supply boxes into the space.
During installation, a further challenge was connecting the Plexineon beneath the seat wall overhang without cracking the concrete. The solution was mounting clips to the vertical face of the seat wall behind a metal band just beneath the overhang, plus doubling up on factory mounting clips to provide secure, concealed reinforcement.
By the time the Plexineon fixtures were installed, Sanders says the electrical contractor "had done a real 180. Plexineon's constructability won him over."
The newly installed planters allow views and easy pedestrian circulation across the plaza. At night, they appear to float, providing a glow that fits into the overall visual hierarchy.
Just as the Denver Union Station Project Authority and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) envisioned, the plaza sets the stage for a vibrant and dynamic new centerpiece to the downtown and the region.
"Everyone loves it," Sanders says. "The Plexineon has great light output and excellent color consistency. There really is no other product with the same longevity that can bend and is as durable."