Ryan Gray Playground Lighting

image of welder and light fixture under construction
 In the Fall of 2002, three Lawrence neighborhood associations (the West Hills Homes Association, the Hillcrest Neighborhood Association, and the Westwood Homeowners Association) each received grant funding from the City of Lawrence for projects intended to promote safety in their neighborhoods. The associations—all flanking Hillcrest Elementary School—agreed to consolidate their funds to purchase lighting for the Ryan Gray Playground for All Children. The playground is designed for maximum accessibility for children of all abilities, and was named in memory of Ryan Gray, a child who once attended Hillcrest School. It was decided to use photovoltaic panels as the power source for the lights. This had several advantages: 1) as a learning experience for the students; 2) as a learning opportunity for the school children; 3) as a sustainability gesture. The students formed themselves into 6 groups of 3 or 4 students, and each group became responsible for the production of one fixture. The tectonic strategy developed into one of “bundled sticks.” Six distinctly different fixtures were constructed out of steel tubes and rods, attached to each other in a critical way. The ideas for each of the lights are as follows (see accompanying photos):
1. A light with an abstracted creature hanging on top of the pole;
2. A light with vegetative expression;
3. A light with square tubes in a mechanistic expression;
4. A light with with its bundle members expressed in space;
5. A light with a curved “sail” reflecting light downward;
6. A light with its tubes expressing the flow of energy from panel, to battery, to lamp.

West Hills Homes Association, the Hillcrest Neighborhood Association, and the Westwood Homeowners Association, Hillcrest Elementary School, USD 497

Steve Badanes

Christopher Baker, Matt Bradley, Ryan Burton, Weston Coble, Joe Davidson, Lisa Dolezal, Amy Gharst, Candace Haines, Shannon Hilton, Kelly Horneyer, Christian Kerrigan, Sarah Korbecki, Melinda Mathews, Jason Newland, Julia Ng, Norm Philipp, Eric Rasmussen, Sarah Reel, Griff Roark, Tony Treu
Year: 2003
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
Course: Arch 401
Instructor: Nils Gore