Illuminated Walkway Keeps College Rec Center's Atrium Shining After Dark

An illuminated walkway keeps a college rec center's atrium shining after dark.

Sunlight streaming into an atrium from a skylight dramatically calls attention to the airy, vaulted space overhead. But what happens after the sun goes down? Helping ensure against an oppressively dark atmosphere at the University of Illinois at Chicago Student Recreation Center is a walkway illuminated from within by bulbs in the floor and railing.

Chicago-based designers PSA-Dewberry modified the walkway's structural design to limit its bulk, and second-choice fluorescent fixtures (the budget didn't allow for longer-life LEDs) were placed behind translucent polycarbonate panels that can be unclipped when bulbs need replacing. Bulbs on the side rails can be changed from the walkway, while those under the floor require use of a lift. The lights typically stay off during the day (the sensor-controlled system was overridden for the photo shown here) but can be turned on for special events - or whenever facility operators want to highlight one of the atrium's defining features.

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