—By: Jessica Burke – Publication—
CHICAGO, IL USA, 9 MAY | Luminaries of the lighting profession gathered at Chicago’s trendy Revel Fulton Market on 9 May to honor the winners of the 35th Annual International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) International Lighting Design Awards. Seventeen projects from eleven countries were on display – including interiors, workspaces, museums, hospitality sites, and a place of worship. This year’s winners represent some of the most innovative and inspiring work found anywhere in the world of architectural lighting design.
The design of The Ghost Train in
Shorewood, WI USA, with lighting design by Creative Lighting Design & Engineering, took home an Award of Merit, accepted in person by Marty Peck, IALD; Michelle Klein; and Dave Drumel. The designers at Creative were asked to illuminate a 200’ pedestrian bridge; gateway to a small suburban community. Without any funds, the designers recognized that an extraordinary concept was needed to inspire fundraising. Research discovered that the original bridge once carried a historic highspeed train that traveled the tracks from 1930 through 1963. They formed an idea to combine art, history and technology and create the illusion, or ghost, of this passing train. The design team’s pitch and concept video helped to raise the $300,000 USD installation budget in 90 days. Once funded, designers got to work. Continuous linear rows of (42) 48″, 9°x9°, RGB graze fixtures per side follow the lower bridge chord to wash the vertical surface, using custom brackets and glare shields for maximum coverage and minimal light trespass. Programming the 12″ fixture increments in sequence creates the effect of passing railcars.
Three rows of 1W, programmable RGB nodes were arranged along the top chords, 3,200 in total. Their
programming was synchronized to suggest the train’s approach, headlight, passing windows, taillight
and trailing dust. Flashing beacons atop the abutment towers precede the train’s crossing, suggesting
crossing signals. Choreographed sound effects complete the illusion of The Ghost Train, running at
historic speeds and schedules once each direction every night.
The bridge crosses a state road, adjacent to a city, located in the village and owned by the county –
that required coordination with four municipalities. Independent structural reviews alleviated
attachment methods, bracketing and weight concerns. A traffic study required interfacing controls
with three adjacent stoplights to minimize distraction by stopping traffic during train runs.
Not only is the solution a fun and immersive attraction for the area – dozens of spectators can be seen
nightly watching the two passing “trains” – it’s more environmentally friendly. Less energy is used than
the original eight 400wMH floods lighting the abutments. Tight beam control, shielding and precise
aiming minimizes sky pollution.
“Lighting completely transforms what would otherwise be an ordinary structure,” said one judge. “I
love this project!”
The IALD Lighting Design Awards program, established in 1983, honors lighting projects that display
high aesthetic achievement backed by technical expertise. A panel of award-winning lighting designers,
architects and interior designers review the projects in a three-day, anonymous review process. Full
information about the judging process can be found in the 35th Annual IALD Awards Call for Entries.
For complete details and high resolution photos of this year’s award-winning projects, visit