London to Light Up River Thames

February 26, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. installation / ˌɪn stəˈleɪ ʃən / (n.) – a huge artwork with multiple components (e.g. lights, structures, sounds, etc.)
Example: The artist’s installation was displayed in the mall’s open area.

2. world-class / ˈwɜrldˈklæs / (adj.) – among the best in the world
Example: The concert featured world-class performers from all over the world.

3. narrow down /ˈnær oʊ daʊn / (v.) – to shorten a list of things by removing less important or suitable items
Example: They narrowed down the list of winning entries from 150 to 50.

4. dynamic / daɪˈnæm ɪk / (adj.) – very lively
Example: The crowd got very excited during the fire dancers’ dynamic performance.

5.  vary / ˈvɛər i / (v.) – to change or differ from one to another
Example: The rates of the hotel rooms vary depending on their sizes.


Read the text below.
The city of London will light up River Thames / tɛmz / and its bridges in a huge art project called The Illuminated River.

The project was designed to transform the river and its 17 bridges into a living piece of art using light installations. The project is aimed at making London a world-class city that teems with life even at night.    

River Thames is known as London’s most iconic river. Throughout the city’s history, the river has played a significant role in the lives of Londoners. It has been the main source of water for Londoners for centuries and has also served as a venue for various recreational activities and celebrations.

According to the website of The Illuminated River, one of the project’s goals is to celebrate the river’s history and to make it more accessible for nighttime activities and celebrations. Currently, the vicinity of the river becomes very dark at night. 

To decide on the river’s design, the team behind the project held an international competition in which 20 countries participated. After narrowing down the 105 entries to six finalists, the jury declared the design scheme called “Current” as the winner. The design was a collaboration between British architects and American artist Leo Villareal, who was also behind the light installation on San Francisco’s Oakland Bay Bridge.

Villareal’s proposal is to enhance the beauty of River Thames at night by installing dynamic lighting in different shades of pink, purple, and orange. The light exhibition will vary from one bridge to another to highlight each structure’s unique architectural qualities. In addition, the light display on the underbellies of the bridge will change when the tide changes.

The first phase of the project will start this year and is expected to end in 2018. Once implemented, the Illuminated River will become the largest public art installation in the city’s history.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you were a resident of London, would you agree with the initiative? Why or why not?
·         What do you think is the impact of the project once it is implemented?

Discussion B

·         In what iconic places in your country would you like a similar project to happen? Why?
·         Would you rather keep natural landscapes as they are or enhance their beauty through technology? Explain your answer.

February 26, 2017