Fremont Street LED Canopy
Owner/Lead Design Firm: Watchfire Signs
General Contractor: Tre Builders
A $30-million upgrade of a sloping canopy that envelopes downtown Fremont Street enhanced what is touted as the world’s largest continuous LED screen. The project boosted the brightness of the previous display sevenfold, increased resolution fourfold, achieved transparency for pass-through sunlight, eliminated glare and reflections from surrounding casinos, displayed high-definition video and facilitated daytime operations of the canopy for the first time since it was erected.
The display is populated with a new-to-market LED product that contains more than 49 million units in 63,642 modules covering a 133,000-sq-ft area. Viewers under the canopy are no farther than 90 ft from the display, which showcases high-definition content accompanied by music.
Contractor Watchfire Signs contended with the seemingly contradictory goals of allowing daylight to pass through the canopy to the street without allowing the light to affect screen content. The engineering team responded with a product that meets transparency specifications while improving brightness and contrast. Because crowds don’t view the canopy when it’s directly overhead, but instead watch displays down the length of the 90-ft-high screen, the team could leverage viewing angles and make the light that passes through holes in display panels nearly imperceptible.
To prevent interference from street lighting, the new screen is fabricated from a matte black material, rather than the off-white material used by the original, creating a texture that prevents glare and minimizes reflections. All 1,043 subsections of the display were designed and built to specifications to fit around multiple structural areas. Installation took place without a single subsection requiring replacement. Each of the eight sections of the display were turned on and were operational within a few days of installation. The canopy screen project was awarded in July 2018, with its unveiling scheduled for New Year’s Eve 2019. The project was completed in November 2019.