Projects | Urban + Lighting | King Street Lighting 


King Street Lighting


Responsive Infrastructure

The quality and quantity of light must support the various roles of downtown streets




The Downtown Kitchener Urban Lighting Study, "On Lighting Downtown," began after The Mayor's Task Force for Downtown Revitalization saw lighting as an important issue to consider. While the project and its multiple phases of implementation were completed over a number of years, it started as a study with pilot designs for portions of King and Charles Streets. The project was completed in collaboration with Phil Gabriel of national lighting firm Gabriel Lighting, now Gabriel Mckinnon Lighting Design. JMA's and Gabriel's approach was to implement the lighting infrastructure in order to support life on the street and to service the goals of the Downtown, emphasizing a human and perceptive approach to lighting rather than concentrating on abstract lighting metrics. To service these goals, the study gave careful consideration to many facets of the downtown environment including its history, topography, precinct, and hierarchy of street.


This physical understanding coupled with extensive lighting design experience that advocates for lighting's ability to enhance the environment at the pedestrian scale, were the building blocks in the development of the report. It therefore emphasizes a more natural approach to lighting instead of the common rational that supports increasing lighting levels to the extent of turning night into day. Organised with several initial chapters on urban design principles and visual concepts that provide guidance and clarity to the basics of vision and how we see, to urban concepts that require consideration when lighting the street. The body of the study is devoted to explaining the general concepts through an analysis of various urban lighitng scenarios organised by type whether civic or residential street, laneway, public park or the entry and threshold between precinct.


The lighting design's implementation demonstrates these concepts in such decisions as the regular offset and rhythm of the lighting poles along the streetscape, which aids with wayfinding through definition of the space within the street and calms the eye with the order established.


“Clone John MacDonald.”


— Phil Gabriel,
when asked by City Council what best to do to improve downtown Kitchener
Principal of Gabriel Design



Project Data

Urban + Lighting


Ideas / Competition


Downtown Kitchener, Ontario

Concentrated through an area of 9x4 City Blocks