The LIGHT Lechmere International Ideas Competition invites artful and creative responses from the best emerging and established professionals from across the region, the nation, the world.
These ideas will offer a variety of visions for how one might:
Illuminate the Lechmere Viaduct in an extraordinary way.
Improve the public realm along the river banks, promote access and encourage activity along and across the Charles River
Use light as means to inspire and educate about history and innovation, past, present, future
….which together, are meant to stimulate lively conversations and catalyze new vision about the future of this crossing, and help decision makers, stakeholders, and the public imagine how an illuminated viaduct might strengthen ties between the communities it connects, and raise civic consciousness about the benefits of superior illumination.
The Lechmere Viaduct [bridge] presents an extraordinary opportunity for creative, artistic illumination. Situated between two neighborhoods currently undergoing great revitalization, illumination will celebrate the area’s continuing growth and visible energy as it enhances the public realm of the Charles River.
Built in 1910, the Lechmere Viaduct is approximately 1,700’ long by 35’ wide — a series of eleven reinforced concrete arches and one steel bridge with masonry abutments. It carries the MBTA Green Line trains over the Charles River from Science Park station in Boston to Lechmere station and terminus in Cambridge. It was originally built to connect multiple streetcar lines in Cambridge and Somerville to Downtown Boston. At the time, it was the largest public works project in the region.
The Lechmere Viaduct merits being masterfully illuminated and celebrated! From the recent Zakim Bridge to the restored historic bridges near the Harvard campus, this is the last crossing of the famous lower Charles River yet to be given a strong nighttime identity. Illumination of the most massive crossing of them all will also celebrate the extension of the MBTA’s [Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority] Green Line service north of its current Lechmere terminus, which will connect the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and beyond. Substantial recent investment along the banks of the Charles has created new parks, paths, and public spaces on both sides of the river, as new buildings have brought new businesses and residents to the adjacent neighborhoods too. How can an illuminated viaduct support, stimulate, and celebrate this new activity?
Go to the competition website: