St. Louis, Missouri
The Thurman Underpass is a blocked, lifeless, and unsafe connection under Interstate 44 between the Shaw and Botanical Heights neighborhoods. The BluLink transforms the underpass into a flexible, welcoming, safe, and unique place that serves as a crossing and a destination for adjacent neighborhoods. Three basic strategies form the design. First, the painted ground is playful and informative, giving directions for cyclists and pedestrians to nearby streets and places, and creating engaging patterns related to the direction and speed of movement. Second, the animated tunnel of blue light is a series of structural steel poles, cables, and string lights spaced along the length of the underpass. The lights are always ambient, but are also controlled by a motion-senor, which adjusts the intensity of lights based on activity. The soft, blue light emitted from the LED bulbs increases visibility and safety, while acting as an animated, artistic light exhibit and unique destination experience. Finally, at both ends and the middle of the light tunnel, steel street furniture acts as vehicular bollards, and accommodates various activities such as an informal gathering, street art show, or public speaking event.