Randy Burkett Lighting Design collaborated with Brooklynn, New York based Michael Van Valkenburgh to help create a rich nighttime park experience for St. Louis, Missouri’s Kiener Plaza.
The renovation of Kiener Plaza is a centerpiece of the City’s downtown revival. The previous incarnation of this park was underutilized and limiting. The revised plan features two acres of pathways, open plazas, landscape, picnic areas, water-features and an expansive oval meadow, all supportive of the community’s vision. The City stressed pedestrian orientation and wayfinding for the night, with reassurance the principal goal. Pedestrian-scaled LED pole-top lights were selected for superior glare control and soft illumination at facial height.
Lighting helps heighten the hardscape zone’s appeal, further encouraging wayfinding and reinforcing a sense of place. 35’-high poles fitted with dimmable LED adjustable accent lights deliver precise, low-glare light. Ground-based accents reveal landscape/softscape as perimeter textural forms enveloping the park and relieving shadow zones.
Gathering areas are well-scaled and intimate at night with select highlighting from pole-based accent lights revealing tree canopies. Festive catenary light strings invigorate seating zones.
Lighting of the open lawn is in a manner unique to the City. The roof of a 42-story building positioned 2-blocks away from the lawn became staging point for “moonlight” illumination. Full-scale rooftop mock-ups were done to fine-tune the concept and its effectiveness. Preset nighttime cues support up to (12) unique activity settings. The lawn is a centerpiece for open air concerts, special events or simply a magnet for kids to frolic in the moonlight.
Kiener Plaza is an unbridled success and a model for using light to energize the night.