John F. Kennedy’s Square is located in Aalborg, Denmark. The public square has undergone significant changes since it was established in front of Aalborg’s railway station in the late 1800s. Until recently, the public square was primarily used as a transit space. Due to its central location in Aalborg and its connection to Aalborg’s new Plusbus project (also known as BRT – Bus Rapid Transit), John F. Kennedy Square has become one of the most important hubs for public transportation in Aalborg.

In 2018 it was decided to redesign the square. The landscape project was conceptualized by COBE architects and later developed by the architectural firm, ARKITEMA. Their common intention was to create an appealing, urban and green environment that caters to pedestrians and cyclists, drawing inspiration from the historical qualities of the area and incorporating modern elements. The square is divided into two main sections: ‘The Outer,’ which refers to transit zones, and ‘The Inner,’ which offers small green islands for relaxation. At the center of the square is the new Plusbus station, featuring an impressive canopy over the boulevard.

Lighting has played a crucial role for the project since the concept phase. The lighting design aims to support the landscape project by creating a visually pleasing environment and aiding readability and orientation through the space. The lighting complements the ‘Outer’ and ‘Inner’ sections, emphasizing both transit and relaxation. A positive user experience and an increased feeling of safety was key to the successful transformation of the area.

Aalborg Municipality has a long history of utilizing light to transform places into attractive and functional urban spaces. To strengthen the city´s lighting profile and ease operation and maintenance for the municipality, the lighting project for John F. Kennedy Square is based on the broad portfolio of lighting techniques and equipment used in other parts of the city. Lanterns in different heights with a classical-modern design provide a comfortable and even light for the main axis and pedestrian walkways bordering the square. High poles with spotlights and gobo projectors stage the inner green islands. Bollards are placed in connection with seating arrangements and plant beds to create more intimate and local light settings. The equestrian statue of Christian IX of Denmark is illuminated from the high poles to accentuate its significance to the square.

The boulevard, featuring the BRT-route, has been incorporated into the lighting scheme to ensure a coherent and harmonic overall expression. Following the design principle for all BRT-stations, high poles with spotlights are used for general lighting of the boulevard. A specific lighting scheme was developed for the canopy that combines upward lighting towards the ceiling with discreet downward projectors mounted on the columns, illuminating the waiting areas.

All lighting equipment is chosen with focus on high quality and durability suitable for public environments. The lighting project is designed to create value for the daily users in an urban context.

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