The Beacon - CODAworx

The Beacon

Submitted by Parallel Development

Client: ESI Design

Location: Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $1,006,559

Project Team

Industry Resource

Parallel Development Ltd


ESI Design


Containing 32 rows, representing the floors of the Tower, and 48 columns, the structure is made up of 768 aluminum modules of two LC tiles, each with a grid of 8 LEDs behind it. As the tiles turn clear, the LEDs are visible as distinct points; as they become more opaque, the tiles act as an adjustable diffuser. The LED combs were designed to be as thin as possible so that the opaque parts of the circuit board almost disappear. The back plane of the module consists of clear acrylic panels to keep the thin LED boards rigid.


Consisting of 1,536 liquid crystal polycarbonate panels and an array of LEDs, The Beacon projects real-time data from The Tower at PNC Plaza’s building systems. PNC’s new headquarters strives to be the world’s greenest office building, so PNC Bank hired ESI Design to create a sculpture in the building’s lobby that would convey the tower’s advanced sustainable systems to building occupants and the public. The Beacon’s displays focuses on five key modes that generate interpretive expressions related to sunlight, water use and recycling, energy, and ventilation.


Collaborating with ESI Design on the sculpture’s form, Parallel provided industrial design, mechanical and electrical engineering, fabrication of all the electronics and metalwork, and installation.