Luminated Rhythm

Creating communal spaces in underused underpasses

The Challenge

NoMa (North of Massachusetts Avenue) is a mixed use neighborhood in the heart of Washington DC. It was largely a vacant industrial district in the early 1990’s. It has grown since then but still retains the transit infrastructure and elements from its industrial past. This infrastructure includes four railroad underpasses that connects the neighborhood on the four primary east-west roads. The NoMa Parks Foundation was seeking an artist, artist team, designer or architect to create designs to revitalize these underpasses.

The Solution

We proposed ‘Luminated Rhythm’ a series of striated curvilinear sculptural elements that morph to create visually engaging surfaces, seating, and trellis structure for greening elements throughout the length of the underpass. Some of the edges of the striated curvilinear sculpture were to be embedded with addressable LEDS which would light up forming an animation as vehicles pass through thereby accentuating the effect of the imagery. Leveraging the sunlight through the skylight overhead, we wanted to create a natural gathering space in the center of the underpass. With seating and greening elements, we were seeking to encourage passersby to linger, have a moment of respite, and enjoy the carved seating in sunlight by day, and programmatic LED animations by night.

Partnerships & Community

Urban Matter Inc. was one of the 49 semi-finalists chosen from 248 entries from 14 countries.

Commissioning Partner

The NoMa Parks Foundation


Concept Design


June 2014



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