Highland Avenue Underpass Project

SHIFT is designed as a gateway between the Regent Neighborhood and UW-Madison.

The accordian style walls emphasize the energy and movement of Highland Avenue through the interplay of two shifting images. Each person’s indivdual pace and curiosity creates a unique experience, forming a dynamic, people-activated corridor with every step, tire revolution or change in view.


Follow the Underpass Project on Facebook
Follow the Underpass Project on Facebook

Artist Julia Schilling on the Highland Ave. Underpass Project:
My concept was inspired by a goal of making the space more engaging and safe for people, and of contributing to a more walkable corridor for neighborhood residents. I based this on feedback from the Regent Neighborhood that the underpass felt unsafe and unattractive.

The patterns created for the walls are symbolic of science, nature and connectivity. I wanted to create the opposite of a dark, undesirable tunnel by transforming the underpass into a bright, intricate ‘sky-like’ place that would remind you more of being outside in nature where everything looks different based on where you’re standing. The level of discovery is based on individual movement and mode of transportation through the underpass, and is achieved through the accordion wall and opposing images. The lights are a mixture of cool and warm LEDs to create a more dynamic, dimensional effect as you move along the walls.

Shift is a collaboration between: Environmental Design Lab, City of Madison, Regent Neighborhood Association and 1000 Friends of Wisconsin