Located in the midtown sector of St. Louis, the Cortex Innovation Community has rapidly grown into a nexus for biotech companies and those that support them. Situated adjacent to one of the country’s largest hospital complexes, the research neighborhood has served as principal catalyst for the area’s urban renaissance including residential, streetside retail, restaurants, and other service focused development. With immediate proximity to both mass transit and bicycle-centric connections, the energetic area is set for even greater growth.
The community centerpiece is a three city blocks long park and a half mile of streetscape which occupies the central corridor. It serves as gathering space, social hub, special events focus, and as a progressive symbol for the neighborhood’s resurgence. Special attention in design was paid to the innovative landscape planning which includes storm water runoff detention, bio-filtration and an emphasis on environmentally responsible materials. Lighting design played an important role, both day and night, in establishing the desired visual vocabulary for the central core.
Linear LED lighting elements are concealed beneath metal grid walkways and terrace projections to reveal the advanced landscape approaches. An alignment of 30’ poles provides pedestrian-scaled illumination, anchoring for a catenary suspended roadway lighting system, and staging for adjustable floodlighting at the plaza and lawn. Mounted atop the same poles are framing projectors fitted with research-inspired patterns for display on walkway surfaces. The orthogonal grid of streets that knits together the surrounding neighborhoods receives illumination from new 15’ high roadway and pedestrian light poles selected as contemporary reminders of the older “acorn” style pole/luminaires that previously populated the area. Within the park, lower level bollards and seat wall integrated linear LED light sources provide appropriate illumination levels and scaled reinforcement for pathways and seating zones. A shade structure becomes a colorful lantern after dark and centerpiece for the informal event venue.
Lighting’s contribution makes this community centerpiece a vital resource to both workers and residents alike.