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How Structura’s Architectural Poles Enhanced Baltimore’s Vibrant Inner Harbor

July 26, 2018

It’s really the centerpiece of downtown.

Cruise ships frequent it.

Tourists love it.

It’s the transportation hub of the city.

But have you experienced Baltimore’s biggest, and most popular tourist destination – the Inner Harbor – at night? The essence of this timeless waterfront promenade was recently enhanced by new architectural lighting poles from Structura. These unique, sustainable wood poles – manufactured in Kansas City – add to the spirit of this magnificent working harbor and help enforce its reputation as one of the most picturesque, safest neighborhoods in the east.

When challenged by Brandston Partnership’s NYC based lighting design team hired by the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore to bring new life – and new light! – to the scenic pathway lighting the many shops, restaurants and tourist stops neatly appointed along the harbor, we relied upon our natural process of bringing innovation, sustainability and purpose to the projects we touch. Using our skilled innovators, designers and engineers – we helped bring the Inner Harbor’s vision of the Brandston Partnership to light.

With the success of the Inner Harbor in the 70s and 80s, Baltimore became a worldwide tourist destination and model of urban planning and development. One feature that makes Baltimore’s Inner Harbor unique to other pure tourist attractions is its influx of full-time residents: people who have a vested interest every day in looking out over the harbor and its scenic views. The high-end condominiums offer unsurpassed waterfront views – meaning the light poles also had to blend into those views with their material, color, texture and form – transforming commonplace functional poles into beauty and art.

That’s why the City of Baltimore and Waterfront Partnership chose a modified version of Structura’s BOL series to grace the pathway. More than 100 poles from Structura at Inner Harbor are made from Accoya™. Accoya™ is one of the world’s most durable exterior wood products, and it’s backed with an industry-leading 25 year warranty. As with all of Structura’s unique architectural poles, these are also structurally engineered to withstand various wind loads, vastly important as the weather is sometimes unpredictable at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

“We’re really seeing a trend towards unique and natural elements such as wood in the outdoor architectural lighting business,” said Derek Seitz, Chief Executive Officer at Structura. “Destinations like Baltimore Inner Harbor, similar to other popular, high end, scenic locations are intent upon creating an experience for their visitors. The lighting, the light poles — they need to blend and add to that experience – be part of the scenic backdrop. They can’t stand out and create a distraction in the view and photos. That’s what we bring to the table. An elegant, unique, sustainable look that’s also practical and lends itself to the long term nature of the entire project. That’s what we’re all about at Structura.”

Working with Structura is easy, says Seitz. “Our team worked closely with the City of Baltimore, Waterfront Partnership, and Brandston Partnership to determine just what their needs were. In this case we took the vision that Brandston had created and the need of the city to utilize existing foundations from the existing poles to create a unique one of kind product that also was able to be retrofitted to existing foundations and wiring. That’s the advantage of having the expertise in-house right here in Kansas City: we have the engineers, the designers, the big thinkers who understand an urban project like the Inner Harbor and work with our in-house manufacturing group to execute quickly and control the quality from start to finish. Our operation is very integrated.”

So the next time you visit the Inner Harbor, one of the nation’s oldest seaports, take in the National Aquarium – home to more than 16, 500 specimens, relive the city’s industrial revolution at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, and be sure to take in the nightlife. Enjoy your time under the artistic, sustainable Structura light poles all along the way.

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