The Thames bridges in a new light. Illuminated River by Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

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Leo Villareal Studio
Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Technical lighting design.- Atelier Ten. Cost consultant.- Core Five. Community engagement.- Iceni. Environmental impact assessment.- Temple Group. Ecology.- Thomson Ecology. Planning.- Montagu Evans. Marine engineering.- Beckett Rankine. Measured survey.- MSA Ltd. Structural engineering.- Price & Myers. Bats and birds survey.- The London Wildlife Trust.
General contractor.-FM Conway. Lighting supplier.- Signify (formerly Philips Lighting)

Leo Villareal

Leo Villareal. (1967 Albuquerque, New Mexico), a pioneer of LED light sculpture, creates intricate light installations for both gallery and public settings. 

He came to international prominence through his project, The Bay Lights, which illuminated the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 2013. Initially conceived as a two-year display, the popularity of The Bay Lights led it to be transformed into a permanent installation, now an iconic visual element of the San Francisco’s landscape.

Leo Villareal focuses on identifying the governing structures of systems, and is interested in base units such as pixels and binary code. His installations use custom, artist-created code, which constantly changes the frequency, intensity, and patterning of lights through sequencing. Villareal has created temporary and permanent light works and sculptures for public spaces and museums including the Morris and Sophie Chang Building, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C; Rice University, Houston, Texas; and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

Villareal’s winning submission for the 2016 Illuminated River International Design Competition, uses light and colour in an integrated composition to enliven the bridges of the River Thames in London.

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. Alex Lifschutz

Alex Lifschutz. Founding Principal of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. Following a degree in sociology and psychology at Bristol University and research in cognitive psychology, Alex studied at the Architectural Association in London. He joined Foster Associates in 1977, worked on the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank from 1981 to 1985 and in 1986 he formed Lifschutz Davidson with the late Ian Davidson.

Alex has had a 25-year relationship with communities and businesses on London’s South Bank, working with the Coin Street Community Builders to regenerate an area that was not long ago a twilight zone in the city, through development of co-operative housing, commercial ventures to support it and new urban realm initiatives. The groundbreaking OXO Tower mixed-use development was a major catalyst in the regeneration of the area which has gone on to become one of the most popular destinations in London.

Recently completed projects include the new Indoor Sports Centre for the University of Birmingham, Bonhams auction house in Mayfair and Foyles flagship bookshop on Charing Cross Road. Ongoing work ranges from a masterplan for 11,000 homes at Barking Riverside and a new London suburb at Kidbrooke Village, to the Institute of Future Living, the first phase of the new campus for UCL in East London. 

He recently guest edited an edition of AD titled ‘Loose-fit Architecture, designing buildings for change’. Alex is past president of the Architectural Association.



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