This proposal was created for the City of Louisville Ninth Street Underpass Project.

Upon approach of the Ninth Street underpass, the need for this project becomes abundantly clear. The enormous barrier cutting through the city has reinforced Louisville’s historic cultural and economic divide, both physically and psychologically. It is encouraging that the city has recognized this issue and has put this project in motion to respond to it. While interviewing local businesses, the desire to “eliminate the divide” is echoed regularly. This proposal aims to substantially bridge the divide between east and west Louisville, both physically and emotionally through visual impact and light.

FUSION is an undulating gradient that brings together several discrete components into a united canopy. The project is intended to draw people from both sides of the underpass and connect the currently divided neighborhoods through form, color, and light. Unique separate panels float overhead, converging toward the middle of the project in a unified element. This fusion is located between the two overpassing bridges, slightly off center, referencing the increased need to draw people from downtown to west Louisville. Light and color work to further emphasize the blending and connectivity of the project. The panels are subdivided into smaller fractured colors that blend from cyan in the east to magenta in the west, melding into a mosaic of larger panels in the middle. As light is cast on the ground plane, the fractured gradient will blend into a pure transition through the underpass.

The project is located overhead and out of reach of pedestrians, reducing the chance of vandalism or damage. Light is cast using white LEDs through translucent printed colored panels, which produce much more visual interest than simple RGB lights cast on a wall. White light is allowed to bleed through so that the space will actually brighten in addition to the colored light. Since the lighting is self-contained, the piece will function during the day as well as in the evening. It was important that this project incorporated light and physical form, so that its impact is not drastically reduced during the day. The form, color, variation, and patterning of the project are variably applied, so that the local community can provide feedback prior to producing the work. Each variable can be adjusted and modified through custom software to ensure that all those that will actually benefit from and use the space can be involved. The work is designed and manufactured digitally so that it can remain flexible until all of the variables are determined.

FUSION will attract pedestrians, bridge the current divide, and become an iconic symbol for the unification of east and west Louisville.