Craiglinn Underpass, Cumbernauld
Working with the community to transform a neglected space with design, art and light whilst saving energy and improving perceptions.
“The design demonstrates a great way to take city spaces and turn them into 21st Century places as the colourful lighting transitions completely transform the atmosphere throughout the day and night. The LED lighting changes include orange hues for early sunset, pink hues for late sunset, purple hues for twilight, and blue hues for the duration of the night and the stunning environment is completed with starlight effects and a 'river' of light that is projected onto the ground.” Inhabitat
Before renovation, the underpass was dark, subject to vandalism and in a poor state of repair. People were risking crossing the busy and dangerous road rather than use the intimidating underpass. There was a clear need to change perceptions by transforming it into a bright and inviting gateway for the local area.
Over a series of workshops, Bigg Design and Zero Waste worked with the local children that use the underpass on their route to school. As part of their curriculum we introduced them to a real-life design process - starting with site and user research, and an introduction to art and design in public spaces, we moved onto brainstorming, sketching, physical and computer modelling followed by a successful presentation to North Lanarkshire Council and local stakeholders. During installation a wide range of students were included in mural painting culminating in a stunning final design that had great local ownership.
Bigg Design took responsibility for making the ambitious concept a reality and work included design and detailing of the bespoke lighting and custom-made vandal-resistant housings, overseeing manufacture, mural design and ensuring successful site installation.
The result is a radical transformation of the underpass that combines, design, art and light to make a truly welcoming and unique space. Visitors are treated to an immersive environment that changes appearance over the course of day and night.
The lighting gradually changes colour from dusk till dawn representing the various states of sunset, twilight, night and sunrise.
Murals on the underpass walls celebrate recognisable scenes from the local area whilst a river of light references Cumbernauld's waters.
Energy efficiency was a key priority and through the use of innovative LED lighting, the whole underpass only consumes the equivalent of 6 typical domestic incandescent light bulbs. Carbon emissions were further reduced by specifying recyclable aluminium housings and using local manufacturers and suppliers.
The project has been upheld as a case study for dealing with difficult public spaces, achieving world-wide press coverage and going on to win the North Lanarkshire Regeneration Award. It is now enjoyed by the local school children and residents alike.