As part of Lights on Tampa 2015, Sky Striker transformed Tampa’s well-known Rivergate Tower into a giant carnival game. Participants — young and old, big and small — lit up the skyline by swinging a mallet and striking a carnival high-striker connected to 240 LED light fixtures throughout the cylindrical skyscraper.
A series of sensors and a wireless transmitter translated the analog mechanics of the old-fashioned high-striker into a high-tech display of sound and light. With each hit, the puck shot up the machine and simultaneously illuminated rings of light around the Tower, broadcasting the strength of each participant across the skyline.
Sky Striker fostered a sense of place, tapping into collective childhood memories of carnivals and into the history of the Florida State Fairgrounds across the Hillsborough River. It also drew special focus to the architecture of the Rivergate Tower — designed by Harry Wolf and built in 1988 — by highlighting its deeply canted apertures and cylindrical form.
Throughout the two-night event, as rising rings of light cut through the dark night sky, the entire city of Tampa shared in the singular spatial and architectural experience of seeing their skyline as they had never seen it before.
Hillsborough County Planning Commission Design Award, 2016
AIA Tampa Bay Design Award, 2015
Engineering & Fabrication: Chris Jones / Freeman
Photography: Matt May & Mathew Paulson