Ahvaz City, with its predominantly horizontal development, extends from north to south along the broad bed of the Karun river, an affluent that flows muddily between banks that are constructed in parts, and in others left to the spontaneous vegetation and sandy terrain. The river contains small islands and widens at a bend that houses the largest island, Shadi. The urban fabric doesn't include any particular attraction points: buildings of modest size and quality with small businesses line roads containing few trees, which are often confused and on which traffic and people build up. The current public lighting system is mostly old style and is characterized by its poor maintenance, showing the succession of "extraordinary" interventions with a number of disused cables and posts. The public administration is committed to an urban redevelopment project that includes the creation of new parks, improvement of the river embankment and new public lighting. The general redevelopment project has been divided into five phases of "thematic" interventions, giving priority to the new lighting of the parks, gardens, embankment and bridges. The public administration has very favourably welcomed the proposal to create attraction points, significant and recognisable buildings close to the banks become luminous materializations, allowing one to continue to identify places, their position in the urban context, the perception of the architectural forms, of the functioning and of the colours, even by night. Attraction points: Moeen Togar (“The Merchant's Lodge”), the Melli Bank, the Silo (“Urban Screen”), Shadi Island (“Happiness”). The Silo (“Urban Screen”): it is a great landmark during daylight hours, characterized by industrial architecture and by the organ pipe wall, bordered by a square-based tower. At night it maintains the same visibility as during daylight hours, thanks to diffused and homogeneous projected lighting with constant illumination values that allow a reading of the natural play of reliefs and of light-dark contrast given by the semi-circular towers. The location of the building in the urban context and the size of the façade overlooking the river, make the silo a "natural" screen where it will be possible to project cycles of images from time to time. Melli Bank: we propose making the entire architectural volume visible by illuminating the wall part of the façades with uniform and homogeneous lighting, using groups of projectors posistioned at the base of the external perimeter walls of the building. Bazar Mooen Togar (“the Merchant's Lodge”): a necessary and important restoration should remove the interventions that have left sediments on the façades over time and restore the building to its original form, giving dignity to the architecture that is part of the history and collective memory of the community. The nightscape newly acquires the presence of the Bazar, with its rows of illuminated porticos, like an enormous lantern taking part in the urban context. Shadi Island ("Happiness"): standing in the middle of the bend of the river in the centre of the city and connected by a bridge, it is destined to become an amusement park, equipped with rides for children and sites of recreation and refreshment. These structures are generally endowed with coloured, bright and attractive lighting systems. The illumination of the bridge that connects the island to the mainlaid creates a line of light that marks the route. The rapids created at the bend in the river, near the island, can be illuminated with light that passes from tones of icy white to bluish white to blue. A small set of projector lamps with LED light bulbs and super spot optics, equipped with an RGB system, allow this effect to be achieved. The bridge: Fourth Bridge (“Energy Bridge”), Fifth Bridge (“Forest Bridge”), White Bridge (“History Bridge”), Black Bridge (“Lace Bridge”), Seventh Bridge (“Diamond Bridge”). The Fourth Bridge (“Energy Bridge”): thirty tall and very visible (10/12 meters) poles (the Juz of the Quran), coloured with 14 different colours (the Saints) and distributed along the south side of the bridge, house tubing that can hold real, methane-generated flames. At night the lighting provided by the gas flames makes the bridge spectacular: the red colour of the flames, moved by the wind, creates an effect of dynamic and coloured light that is doubled through its reflection in the mirror-like water surface. The street lighting is provided by double arm poles (6m h) with high cut-off projector lamps positioned in the centre of the bridge. The Fifth Bridge (“Forest Bridge”): the linear structure held up by two rows of pylons is an important visual landmark that resembles a forest. Projector lamps with monochromatic LED bulbs, positioned in the intrados of the bridge and controlled by an RGB system, shed indirect and shaded light onto the pylon forest and, thanks to their chromatic variation, suggest the succession of seasons from the soft green of spring to the intense blue of summer, passing through the yellow-reds of autumn to winter's total whiteness and lack of colour. The White Bridge (“History Bridge”): a system of light cables with LED bulbs becomes an integral part of the bridge, inserted into the structure and invisible during the day. At night it becomes a structure of white lights resting on the pylons. The restoration and adaptation of the fixtures and light bulbs of the existing historical lamps with new technologies, provides lighting for vehicle and pedestrian roadways. The Black Bridge (“Lace Bridge”): Backlighting of the iron structure of the pylons restores the graphic appearance of the bridge, glorifying its proto-industrial style, materials, lightness and transparency. These factors create a dematerialized, aerial view, the reverse of that seen during the day. The bridge is dedicated to railway traffic alone and does not require the installation of street lights. The Seventh Bridge (“Diamond Bridge”): contains four arches that intersect to create diamond point buttresses. These are strongly illuminated with light values that soften towards the centre of the arches, creating an initial dynamic moment of varying illumination values. An RGB regulation system allows the emission of light that ranges from tones of icy white to glows of rose and light blue, just like those of a diamond, giving chromatic dynamism to the light. The roadway is lit up by a system of posts with iodide lamps, positioned on both sides for the two driving directions. Here the lamps have a "cool" colour temperature (4000 K), to increase the sparkling gem appearance of the bridge. The installation of two “bridges” in the riverbed - large fountains with water spouts of different flow rates and controlled heights, lightly coloured and accompanied by a sound recording will make up two strong, spectacular and dynamic attraction points. Parks and gardens; Jungali ("Jungle" to the south of the “Forest Bridge”), Doulat (“People”) newly installed (north west of the “Diamond Bridge”) and Laleh (“Tulip”), gardens, fountains Newly conceived fixtures have been selected - models carefully designed to connect form and function - which are integrated into the context in such as way as to create minimal visual impact during daylight hours (when they are not playing their role), while providing the right illumination levels, comfort, security and pleasure for night life and night viewing. The lighting of several large green areas and resting places is entrusted to lighting and lit elements, custom-designed and produced specifically for the city, that hint at navigation: large triangular sails (metallic or fabric), fixed onto rectangular blocks of cement and supported by a tree, reflect the light of "Light up" projector lamps positioned at ground level. Large, fast-flowing arterial roads, parallel to the river and at the extreme periphery of built-up areas, support the heavy-flowing traffic as well as the entrance to and exit from the city. Large boulevards ensure internal links to the various parts of the city. Traffic flows to the various districts through a network of roads for vehicles and pedestrians. We've identified three lighting systems dedicated to each specific type of road system and we have therefore designed three distinct models of light posts to be installed in the varying situations occurring in the city's road network, in compliance with the CEN provisions in force. When selecting the colours we decided upon the predominant colours found in decorative Islamic art, in wall facings, in the roofing of buildings and in the brightness of the ceramics: bright shades of green, dark blue, and light blue. We chose green for the light posts. The municipality's desire to personalize the public lighting system has led to the design of a logo and a plaque that represent the city. Each light post will therefore have its own plaque, backlit with LED bulbs.
w/ MLD 360°, iGuzzini
Photo: S. Omidvarnia