The lighting of a rather neglected railway bridge in Haringey by Sutton Vane Associates proves how one relatively small-scale project can bring about a dramatic improvement in the visual environment.

Bruce Grove Bridge has been transformed into a local landmark, washed with blue light and providing an appealing, attractive route both during the day and night.

One small part of the GLA funded initiative ‘Growth on the High Road’, wider environmental improvements to Tottenham High Road, undertaken by Haringey Council and led by architects Adams & Sutherland, the bridge by Bruce Grove Station is a great example of how small changes can contribute to an enhanced sense of place and local identity.

Carrying the railway over the road, the bridge not only looked tatty with faded peeling paintwork, but also created an unpleasant thoroughfare for pedestrians, particularly at night.

Working closely with local stakeholders, Adams & Sutherland decided to turn this rather apologetic structure into a positive feature. The bridge was repainted in blue and the name of the station is now emblazoned across the bridge, giving it an identity as well as providing direction. It was up to Sutton Vane Associates, supported by environmental engineers Freeman Beesley, to capitalise on its regeneration during the night.

The plan was simple: to bathe the underside of the bridge in blue light to reinforce the effect of the new paint and branding, transforming it into a beacon that is fast establishing itself as a local landmark.

The blue light is provided by blue coloured LEDs controlled by photo cells to ensure the lighting only comes on as the natural light fades.

While the concept is simple, the execution turned out to be less so.  As the bridge is a working railway bridge there are stringent regulations as to what can be fixed to the structure, making the cabling of the installation technically challenging.  A compromise was reached whereby two controllers run the lighting, avoiding the need to pass cable across the underside of the bridge.

The end result is a huge success transforming a small area of neglect into an emphatic and attractive feature of the urban landscape.

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