Terri Meyer Boake BES BArch MArch LEED AP
Associate Professor :: Associate Director :: School of Architecture :: University of Waterloo

The Luminous Veil
Prince Edward Viaduct Safety Barriers

Dereck Revington Studio

Toronto, Ontario


Project Information:

The Prince Edward Viaduct stretches over one of the busiest highways in Toronto, Ontario, and had unfortunately become a frequent site for suicide occurrences. As a result, a national competition was commissioned for teams to submit a safety barrier design to prevent further incidents. The winning design would be constructed on the viaduct. The Luminous Veil design was chosen as the winning project, and was submitted by Dereck Revington Studio and Yolles. The Luminous Veil is predominantly a steel structure that not only functions as a deterrent, but also preserves the aesthetic appeal and historical heritage of the viaduct and surrounding area.

Hollow structural steel (HSS) frame supports were attached to the existing bridge’s framework at 6.4 m intervals. These supports extend upward at an angle from both sides of the bridge. HSS sections extend inward to support fabricated curved steel plate beams, approximately 4.5 m above the bridge’s sidewalk. Steel rods, 8 mm in diameter and spaced apart at 127 mm, are attached to these beams, and stretch down approximately 5.2 m. The bottom ends of the rods are connected to anchors on the outside of the existing guardrail.

The design team needed to carefully consider designing a barrier that would be large enough to serve its intended purpose, as well as to cause the least amount of increased weight on the existing bridge. Steel’s lightweight quality, and ease of fabrication, served its purpose for this structure. Completed in the Spring of 2003, this transparent and open-concept veil is seen by thousands of commuters who cross over or pass under the viaduct landmark on a daily basis.

Owner: City of Toronto
Artist: Dereck Revington Studio
Structural Engineer: Yolles Partnership Inc.
General Contractor: Bridgecon Construction Ltd.
Steel Fabricator and Detailer: Mariani Metal Fabricators Ltd.
Steel Erector: Spark Steel Erectors Limited

Project Images:

View of the barrier looking west along the bridge.
View looking north at the bridge from the Bayview Extension.

View along the exterior of the bridge looking a the angles back HSS and cable support system.
Vertical cables form the line of safety barrier adjacent to the sidewalk.

A view through the cables looking at the tensioning system as it connects outward supports.
The veil stretches outwards of the main line of the construction where it meets a major bridge abutment support.
View of the top support showing the galvanized finish on the HSS sections.
View through the veil at the support system.
Detail of the top connection at the steel cable and outward rigger.
Detail of the cable attachments to the outward support.
View of the Luminous Veil from below the bridge.
The design works around the masonry projections at the main bridge supports.
Detail of the connection of the outward support back to the underside of the bridge roadway.
Side view of the connection between the outward rigger that slips through the paired vertical support members.


These images are for educational use only and may not be reproduced commercially without written permission. tboake@sympatico.ca

Updated September 25, 2005