Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Big News in Baltimore

The famous blue neon wave on the south side of the National Aquarium the Inner Harbor will be replaced with an energy efficient LED. The good news is: Light Emitting Diodes will cut the wave's energy use by 70 percent. The bad news is: The original architect of the building and the aquarium's first board chairman aren't thrilled about it. The Baltimore Sun reports:

"It's a signature element of the building," said architect Peter Chermayeff of the original neon wave. "It's not a sign. It's a work of art. It's an important part of the architecture."

"It's a piece of Baltimore history, and it's easily recognized by people everywhere," said Frank Gunther Jr., the aquarium's first board chairman. When there's a nationally televised football or baseball game in Baltimore at night and the camera pans across the city skyline, he said, "you can see the wave on the side of the building and know it's the aquarium."

But aquarium representatives say the replacement wave will be the same size, shape and color as the 350-foot-long wave that has illuminated the building for nearly 29 years, and they're confident it will have a similar visual effect. If anything, they say, the new wave will be even bluer than the original. They say the LED system was selected because it looks like neon but uses less energy, and being energy-efficient is part of the aquarium's mission and message these days.

"We are well aware of and we cherish the iconic nature of this wave," said Tim Pula, senior director of capital planning and facilities for the aquarium. "It's one of the most recognizable features on the city skyline. It's good advertising for us. We're not looking to re-invent the wheel. We're just trying to change the medium that transmits the light, to make it more energy efficient…It's a repair and replacement of what is there with a new technology."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Guess I'm ok with the new "wave lights" if it looks the same from a distance, (how most people see it). LM