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6TH Street Viaduct.jpg

Photo: Michael Maltzan Architects 

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Photo: Leni Schwendinger Light Projects 

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Photo: Leni Schwendinger Light Projects 


LOCATION: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

CLIENT: LA Bureau of Engineering

TEAM: HNTB, Michael Maltzan Architects, Hargreaves


                  MMA worked with Leni and her team, HNTB, and Hargreaves for the 6th Street Viaduct project, where she was tasked with the lighting concept generation. Her aptitude for responsive, dynamic bridge illumination, as a feature, was coupled with practical proposals for non-disruptive lighting technologies for the bridge surface. She also kicked off the concepts for the public landscape below the bridge. Collaborating with Leni Schwendinger Light Projects is a creative exercise that sets the tone for a successful infrastructure and public space projects."

— Michael Maltzan

Managing Principal, Michael Maltzan Architecture

Seen in movies and on television, Sixth Street Viaduct is one of America’s most famous and iconic bridges. The bridge acts as a vital connection between the Arts District on the west side of the Los Angeles River and the historic neighborhood of Boyle Heights on the east side. Leni Schwendinger Light Projects led the competition and concept-phase lighting design. Collaborating with architect Michael Maltzan, the City of Los Angeles, and our internal team of interactive designers, a concept was envisioned to display ambient patterns echoing environmental conditions.


The innovative concept, a ribbon of light, entitled “Slip Stream”, was presented through rendered video and live demonstrations to a wide variety of stakeholders.

Most bridge lighting is visible and interrupts the line of vision. Although highly challenging, team criteria included a desire for concealed lighting. The Light Projects’ design incised mounting niches for under-arch illumination. Additionally, vehicular, low-positioned lighting, rather than standard streetlight poles, was proposed, tested and accepted by the LA Bureau of Engineers.


Working with landscape architects, Hargreaves, Schwendinger’s team conceptualized under-bridge lighting for a large-scale park. One goal was to utilize the bridge itself as an armature for lighting, removing the need for lighting fixtures littering the ground plane.


Our design set the stage for the final design which was handed off to architects and engineers for the ensuing phases. The bridge opening was July 2022.

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