San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge Lighting Project

San Diego, CA, USA

Sweeping across the waters of San Diego Bay, the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge acts as both an important nautical gateway to the region and a well-loved local landmark. In 2010, Buro Happold partnered with artist Peter Fink and lighting designers Speirs + Major to enter an international competition to design illuminations for the bridge. Our winning concept will see this graceful structure brought to life beneath an ever-changing light show.

Challenge

Translating the vision of the design team into reality proved a real challenge for our engineers. Not only did we need to deliver lighting solutions across the bridge’s 2.5 mile long deck and 30 supporting pillars, but our design also had to meet California Title 24 energy requirements, and minimize light spill so as not to affect the local ecology.

Nightscape of Coronado Bay Bridge, lit up against the dark sky in gold and blue
A variety of sustainable energy sources will power the installation. Image: Form Associates Limited / Speirs + Major

Solution

Our energy neutral strategy will illuminate the bridge with programmable lighting, which will be powered by solar panels installed on buildings across the Port of San Diego. By using a color changing LED system, we will be able to create an infinite number of lighting scenarios that will reflect the rhythm of movement across and beneath the bridge.

We also designed fixture brackets for the 1,400+ lights in the display that will ensure the bulbs can be safely installed over water during construction, and that the installation in its entirety will have minimal impact on the bridge structure itself.

Nightscape of Coronado Bay Bridge, lit up against the dark sky in green and blue
This unique lighting scheme will create a ‘distinctive and timeless signature artwork for the region’. Image: Form Associates Limited / Speirs + Major

Value

This highly anticipated project will realize a timeless artwork that celebrates an iconic landmark. In addition to enhancing the physical structure of the bridge and enlivening the public realm, the light display will also serve as a lasting emblem of the strong ties that link the communities of San Diego and the City of Coronado across the water.

Coronado Bridge lit up at night in orange and blue
Built in 1969 amidst the beauty of the bay, the 2.5 mile long serpentine bridge will endure as symbol of the area. Image: Form Associates Limited / Speirs + Major

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