A public plaza in Alberta’s northern capital of Edmonton is illuminated in a new way. The site’s high latitude makes for long winter nights, necessitating effective & efficient outdoor lighting. Leveraging the point source nature of LED, a set of custom high mast poles utilize a multitude of tiny heads to unobtrusively illuminate the plaza, preserving views of the historic legislature dome beyond.

The solution consolidates much of the required lighting for the main plaza, adjacent walking path, and building facades, creating a welcoming outdoor environment.

The tall poles march in procession along the edge of the eco-gardens, framing the view to the historic legislature building beyond and keeping the plaza area open and well-illuminated for events.  The multitude of heads (shielded with honeycomb louvers) sparkle as you travel through the space. These 14 fixtures illuminate the main plaza, walking paths and building facades, consolidating what would otherwise be a large quantity of fixtures, streamlining installation, maintenance and power requirements.

The schematic section in the gallery helps explains the tall poles – each of the individual LED heads serves a different purpose and has a corresponding light distribution. Tight spots illuminate far-off building facades and minimize uplight spill, wider floods illuminate the plaza. Any minimal uplight is captured by adjacent building surfaces, with the LED heads allowing for tight control of aiming.



Project scope was the renovation of an Art Deco office building and the development of the surrounding site to include public gardens and gathering places. Gabriel Mackinnon’s scope  included architectural lighting for all the exterior facades, plazas and paths, and all of the ceremonial and public front-of-house interior spaces.

The project achieved LEED Gold certification in 2016 and is dark sky friendly, a great challenge on such a large site with many building facades that required illumination.

The areas surrounding the pavilion are economically illuminated from the column grazing fixtures and spill light through the glazing, providing a clean visual field, simplifying winter maintenance and reducing ongoing energy use.

The main access path through the eco-gardens is illuminated by full cut off LED pedestrian posts, with a strong rhythm that aids in wayfinding.

A large raised bench becomes an evening destination with the addition of a glow from below. This image captures the openness of the plaza made possible by the use of the high mast fixtures and the comfortable atmosphere created by the illumination of the adjacent facades.

A repeating pattern of recessed path lighting maintains an open visual field while still clearly marking pathways.

A frontal view of the tall poles in the gallery shows the paired arrangement of aimable small LED heads. The fixtures are grouped and precisely aimed to fulfill the many functions required in the multi-use space; their innovative form factor and ability to illuminate facades with minimal uplight could not be matched by existing standard products.