SOURCE: Los Angeles World Airports

September 11, 2006 02:59 ET

LAX Pylons Relit to Commemorate Sept. 11

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 11, 2006 -- The landmark series of 26 colorfully lighted pylons at the Century Boulevard entrance to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) were relit tonight at 9:01 p.m. to begin the airport's commemoration of Sept. 11, 2001. The timing coincides with the start of 9-11 on the U.S. East Coast. The pylons are programmed red, white and blue and will remain on for 27 hours until midnight Monday, Sept. 11.

Starting Tuesday at sunset, the pylons will be illuminated in a variety of colors and sequences as designed and programmed by Paul Tzanetopoulos, the lighting artist who created the original lighting schemes. The pylons will then be lit from dusk to 1 a.m. and from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. daily.

The pylons, which have become a symbolic gateway to Los Angeles since they were first lit August 2000, were dark during the past six months for refurbishment and technology upgrades performed by Los Angeles World Airport's (LAWA's) Construction & Maintenance personnel.

New LED (light-emitting diode) technology installed in the refurbished pylons is 70 percent more energy-efficient than the original system. The new system also requires less maintenance and offers a display palette of more than 16 million colors.

Lydia Kennard, LAWA executive director, said, "The LAX Gateway pylons are the most well-known example of public art in Los Angeles, and are visible to airline passengers from 3,000 feet. We are proud they will light the way once more to the entrance of one of the world's premier airports."

The 1.5-mile lineup of 11 translucent, tempered glass columns of increasing height from 25 to 60 feet along Century Boulevard culminates with a ring of 15 100-foot-tall columns at the intersection of Century and Sepulveda Boulevards. Together, with 32-foot-high "L-A-X" letters facing eastward to incoming motorists, the pylons create what is considered the world's largest permanent, public art light installation. The pylons are oriented skyward and are designed to mimic an aircraft takeoff pattern.

LAWA determined the original, theatrical stage lighting equipment in the pylons had reached the end of its life cycle and required an overhaul. The original equipment was replaced with new light-emitting-diode (LED) fixtures, which were unavailable in 2000. Unlike conventional lights, LEDs are small devices that convert electrical energy directly into light. Originally intended for use as indicator lights, improvements in color and technology increased the use of LEDs as sources of complex illumination.

The 2,000 LED fixtures used in the pylons will consume 75 percent less electricity than the previous 736 lamps; will burn for 75,000 to 100,000 hours compared to only 3,000 hours for the original lights; and will require minimal maintenance by eliminating moving parts, motors, lamps and filters.

The new technology's benefits are expected to produce significant cost savings. The total cost of the upgrades was $2.5 million, including $1.18 million for the LED light fixtures, installation, and contracts for programming and sequencing the displays. Replacing the original theatrical-style lighting equipment with new but similar parts would have cost $4.3 million. Because the LEDs burn less electricity while providing more vibrant hues, LAWA expects to cut its annual electric bill for the pylons by 75 percent to $18,000 compared to $73,000 with the original system. Annual maintenance costs for the new, more reliable system are expected to be reduced to $20,000 from $1 million with the older system.