Illumination Initiative Lights Up Iconic Downtown Buildings
Syracuse is renowned for winter, but this season the city is shining a little brighter, thanks to an illumination initiative by the Connective Corridor focused on lighting iconic buildings and public spaces along the recently completed streetscape.
The “Corridor of Light” illumination project is part of the Connective Corridor’s façade improvement and public art program, funded through grants from Empire State Development. The focus of the project has been both aesthetics and energy reduction through efficient high-quality LED lighting units that can also easily be upgraded to keep pace with the rapid evolution of lighting technology, permitting additional savings.
“Illumination has been a literal and metaphorical theme of the Connective Corridor—from innovative lighting projects that highlight the city’s iconic architecture, to urban streetscape projects that activate Syracuse as a more vibrant place to live, work and visit,” says Linda Dickerson Hartsock, who manages the Connective Corridor for the Syracuse University Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development. “Intelligent LED lighting systems help create sustainable smart cities, as they also enliven outdoor public spaces, buildings, parks and art works.”
Lighting projects already completed as a part of the Connective Corridor facade improvement program include:
• The Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST) illuminated its turret tower.
• Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church illuminated its iconic spire.
• The Parkview Hotel replaced its iconic rooftop sign with state-of-the-art LED lighting.
• Reid Hall and Peck Hall at 601 E. Genesee St. implemented landscape and architectural accent lighting.
• Presidential Plaza at 600 E. Genesee St. implemented new exterior façade lighting.
• Synapse Erie Canal Buildings at 325 E. Water St. and 333-335 E. Water St. refurbished its historic lighting, and installed new exterior façade lighting.
• Kenny & Kenny at 315 W. Fayette St. refurbished its exterior historic lighting.
• Lemp Jewelers at South Warren and West Fayette streets installed enhanced exterior lighting.
• Temple Concord illuminated its historic façade.
• CNY Philanthropy Center/CNY Community Foundation illuminated its portico facing Fayette Park.
• Onondaga Tower implemented an innovative complete building lighting scheme with unique lighting controls that change colors and can create special effects.
• ProLit/WCNY Case Building implemented an exterior illumination project as the western terminus of the Connective Corridor (funded in partnership with National Grid).
• Taksum Development installed new exterior lighting as part of its mixed-use redevelopment of 709 E. Genesee St.
Projects that have been approved for funding and planned for installation this spring include:
• SpaZend’s/Strong Hearts Building at 719 E. Genesee St. is planning to refurbish its historic exterior lighting.
• Park Plaza at 430 E. Genesee St. is planning to illuminate its historic building overlooking Fayette Park.
• The Erie Canal Museum is planning to light its new mural, also funded through the Corridor façade program.
• The Hamilton White House is planning to illuminate its historic Greek Revival landmark building at the intersection of Townsend and East Genesee streets.
• Kitty Hoynes is planning a façade lighting project.
• Transitional Living Services is planning an exterior lighting project at 420 E. Genesee St., overlooking Fayette Park.
• Ephesus Lighting is planning an innovative lighting project at the plaza at Onondaga Tower.
• A lighting project is planned for 250 Harrison St. on the Civic Strip of the Connective Corridor.
Public spaces lit through the Connective Corridor streetscape project include:
• Forman Park firefly lighting
• Syracuse Stage Plaza exterior illumination, including LED screens
• Armory Square gateway landscaped area
• Everson Plaza/Urban Video Project projection on wall of Everson Museum
The Connective Corridor is currently working with the City of Syracuse on a tasteful architectural lighting project to illuminate the fountain, statuary and landscaping at Fireman’s Fayette Park. The project, to be implemented in 2015 as part of the Civic Strip of the Connective Corridor, will be guided by the aesthetic of the beautiful perimeter cast iron fence from the original design by landscape architect C. Hastings. The park includes the Hamilton White Monument, a statue and seat in memory of Hamilton S. White, who lost his life at a fire on March 13, 1899, which was given by fellow firemen and other citizens. A monument to firemen who lost their lives in the Collins Block disaster Feb. 2, 1939, was erected by the city on the east side of the park. The Phillip Eckel Memorial moved there in 1979. The 1.2-acre park has been known under various names through the years—first as Centre Square (1827), then LaFayette Park (1838), Fayette Park (1917) and Fayette Firefighters Memorial Park (1972).
Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli says, “I applaud the success of the Connective Corridor façade program and take particular interest in the enhanced lighting improvements for the individual buildings and public spaces around Fayette Park. I commend SU for taking the time to involve the business owners in all aspects of the design process and also for paying special attention to preserving the historic elements incorporated throughout Fayette Park. I also believe that SU has succeeded in using the lighting features to re-energize multiple areas of our city along the Corridor path, to showcase the beautiful historic features on many of the buildings, and to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere and sense of security in our urban sector.”
The Corridor is also working with the City of Syracuse and the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) to develop proposals that could include illumination as part of a larger Connective Corridor public arts solicitation to be launched in late January. VPA students worked with the Connective Corridor and area businesses on design ideas for many of the façade projects that included enhanced lighting. An upcoming public art solicitation, titled “Illuminating the Corridor through Public Art,” will be seeking artists or teams of artists for permanent public art in all media and materials along the Corridor. While proposals do not need to have lighting as a component of the actual work, applicants will be urged to consider how their work might be creatively illuminated after dark.
“VPA looks forward to working with the Connective Corridor on this upcoming public art project, building on the foundation of the façade program,” says Lucinda Havenhand, associate dean of research and graduate studies and associate professor of environmental and interior in the School of Design. “Projects like these give students the opportunity to blend design praxis with practice, and learn the process of taking a project from concept to completion. This is a very unique partnership.”
“Our students and their parents, as well as visiting SU alumni, are increasingly staying and dining downtown when they come to Syracuse,” says Marilyn Higgins, Syracuse University’s vice president of community engagement and economic development. “These projects make their visits safer, and more memorable by illuminating the rich architectural heritage of our city.”
The Connective Corridor lighting initiative is designed to complement other projects, such Onondaga County’s lighting master plan for buildings and public spaces in the Columbus Circle area, as well as National Grid building’s iconic lighting design on Erie Boulevard, developed by renowned lighting architect Howard Brandston.
An architectural landmark that was recently illuminated as part of the initiative was the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology. “The MOST was excited to participate in the Connective Corridor facade improvement program,” says its president, Larry R. Leatherman. “The new exterior lighting of the east side of our architecturally significant building is a powerful beacon, leading visitors down Jefferson Street and welcoming them to historic, vibrant Armory Square.”
“The City of Syracuse’s authenticity is defined by the character of our historic building stock and dynamic public spaces,” says Ben Walsh, Syracuse’s deputy commissioner of neighborhood and business development. “The innovative ‘Corridor of Light’ program highlights, both literally and figuratively, and what makes us uniquely Syracuse.”