Denver After Dark: Union Station and Millennium Bridge Tour

December 11, 2023

About the tour: Take a trip through Denver’s history. Focused on landmarks new and old, the tour will reveal how the construction of the Millennium Bridge and redevelopment of Denver Union Station catalyzed the transformation of Denver’s railyards and warehouse district into a national model of development connecting the urban core and the historic neighborhoods along the South Platte River. The tour will also explore the lighting design and its importance for both the station terminal and Millennium Bridge.

About Union Station and the Light Rail Terminal: On the East side of the historic Denver Union Station building two public plazas provide space to relax, play and gather. A bosque in the North Plaza provides shade and a relaxing place to rest. The fountain in the South Plaza is a playful escape from the summer heat and takes on a magical character at night as the water jets refract the light from LEDs at the base of each water jet.

The historic station façade adds texture and contrast with column accent lights and soft washes of light above the arched windows and under the canopy. Pedestrian scale light poles in the plaza illuminate the area to create a comfortable nighttime experience.

At Denver Union Station’s Light Rail Terminal, a composition of light reveals the forms and textures of the plaza with bright focal accents contrasting the uniform ambient pedestrian lighting. Light columns in the adjacent pedestrian plaza provide the uniform light levels required by RTD. The curved seat walls float with linear LED lighting under the seat wall cap, eliminating shadows and providing visual accent and contrast. The sculptural form and texture of the ventilation tubes are accentuated with low wattage in-grade uplights. The intake tube glows from within, revealing its interior form.

About Millennium Bridge: Denver’s Millennium Bridge, located at the west end of 16th Street Mall and adjacent to Denver Union Station, is an iconic structure for the City and County of Denver.

The lighting design included all LED lighting technology with color changing luminaires focused on the mast to provide for dynamic lighting shows. The lighting controls utilized a power-line carrier system, enabling the dynamic lighting controls to communicate over existing power wiring. This system saved significant costs by avoiding installing new conduit and wiring on a bridge that spans the BNSF railroad, minimizing disruption to the daily operations of the railroad during construction.

About the tour guides:

Dane Sanders joined Clanton & Associates, Inc. in 2002. With strong design and technical skills in lighting, daylighting and controls, Dane approaches challenging projects with inspired and innovative designs. Several of his projects are LEED certified, including six LEED Platinum projects. His project experience includes museums, exhibits, art galleries, convention centers, commercial interiors, streetscapes, and urban design. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Colorado Illumination Engineering Program for daylighting, lighting controls, and advanced lighting design and detailing. He also speaks at lighting and energy conferences such as LightFair and Greenbuild.

Tommy Matthews is Associate Principal at Tryba Architects where he leads the experiential design studio. Tommy serves on the board of trustees for Historic Denver and has produced a short documentary film on Denver Mountain Parks.

Accessibility Information: The tour will have access to elevators and ADA ramps as the tour moves between locations. The walking tour will start at the Denver Union Station and travel via sidewalk to the Millenium Bridge.