Re-making water visible

Boston LightWells Project



A winner of the City of Boston Public Space Invitational, the first LightWell installation makes green infrastructure a visible and interactive element of public space. LightWell heightens the experience of ground water recharge through light and color, and communicates the potential of small-scale interventions to reduce water pollution and the depletion of groundwater, which threatens coastal ecologies and the timber pile foundations under historic structures. 


Water, Light and Color

Sponsored by the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and a research grant from the College of Arts, Media & Design at Northeastern University, this installation makes underground infrastructure for groundwater recharge surface as beautiful, functional, and didactic objects that animate public space. 

Sensing Technology

Sensing technology was leveraged to demonstrate a drywell concept for storage and recharge, translating real-time flow and depth measurements into changing color lights (see our video in the Gallery).   The solar-powered illuminated object sits in low-points of the public library park, and activates this mid-century urban landscape at night. Changing colors enabled data visualization in public space, expressing the dynamic changes in ground water levels.

Green Infrastructure

A Local Focus exhibit in the public library, a feature in the South End Garden Tour by the Trustees of Reservations, an exhibit at City Hall, and numerous press articles on this project, continue to educate the public about the role of small green infrastructure, groundwater infiltration and monitoring. Designed to promote the idea that we can all transform small marginal spaces, including front gardens, backyards and small open public spaces, into ecological landscapes; this installation leverages the communicative potential of environmental design as a powerful tool of cultural and environmental engagement.