A catenary lighting system from Ronstan Tensile Architecture was installed above a newly created community green space in the Fenway Park area of Boston, Massachusetts to maximise the usage of the park.

Formerly known as the Landmark Center, the historic building at 401 Park Drive in Fenway was redeveloped into new retail, office and recreation spaces by Samuels & Associates in 2019. Designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects, the redevelopment – renamed as 401 Park Drive – also includes a beautiful outdoor green space and park for the community’s enjoyment. This green space serves as the perfect home for year-round outdoor activities, including community workouts, markets, concerts, movies and other events including a seasonal skating rink under the lights.

When planning the lighting for this green space, the designers sought a solution that would keep the green clear and free of intrusive poles and invasive support structures so that the area could be enjoyed for various recreational activities. The Ronstan catenary lighting system meets all functional lighting requirements, creating a safe, secure and comfortable environment for park users to enjoy well into the evenings.

Ronstan worked with the architect and general contractor to develop the catenary lighting system for the park. Using advanced computer modelling software, the entire lighting system was modelled to accurately predict the loads to suit the capacity of the poles and size all components of the structure. During the installation, Ronstan carefully monitored the tensions and deflections of all the cables to ensure the as-built system matched the model without any overloading issues.

To achieve the lighting design aesthetic, Ronstan specified load rated stainless steel rings at junctions to allow the cables to orient to the correct positions. A custom grade 316 stainless steel mesh sheath was used to bind the power and structural cables together as one, with Ronstan’s ACS2-SS-08 (1/4″ diameter) cables forming the structural cable net.

The challenging installation saw the use of boom lifts and scissor lifts, which were positioned outside the poles to protect the grass. The picture perfect green space beneath the lights was ready for communal use at its opening day in July 2019.

Image: Ellie Macqueen/ Ronstan USA