There is an ongoing architectural quest to find new and innovative sustainable materials. Some products could appear in the next science fiction film, such as the fungus-grown packaging material by Ecovative. Other materials have been with us for a long time, under guise of other uses. Some products—like the lowly shipping container—have served one function for so long they beg to be reinvented. Israeli architect firm Yoav Messer Architects won the Ariel Sharon Park Competition in early ,2013 for a unique pedestrian bridge built from the ubiquitous metal boxes, and with progress underway, the proposal could serve as a new model for reusing the discarded pieces of shipping infrastructure. Serving as the gateway to Ariel Sharon Park in Israel, the 520-foot-long bridge gives this 100 percent recyclable conglomerate waste a new lifeline. Further, the modifications to the containers are done primarily off site to protect the integrity of the environmentally sensitive area. The bridge seeks to integrate the surrounding scenic beauty for pedestrians and cyclists by including observation decks to view the surrounding nature preserve vistas. Pedestrians can also access the rooftop boardwalk by staircases located near the midpoint of the bridge. To overcome ventilation problems, the team added holes in the container walls that double as lookout points. Three tree-column supports hold the the container structure airborne. The project challenges when a product is considered "waste." The demand to divert waste is increasing as landfill space decreases around major cities. If this project is successful, architectural firms may turn to these once discarded containers and ask, "What other needs can they meet?"
Posts tagged with "Bridges":
A proposal to turn the old Riverside-Figueroa Bridge into a High Line–style park appears to be dead after a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge declined to issue a temporary restraining order to demolition crews. Introduced by RAC Design Build and EnrichLA last fall, the Figueroa Landbridge would have preserved part of the 1939 bridge for use by pedestrians and cyclists while the replacement span for vehicular traffic was built upstream. RAC Design Build’s Kevin Mulcahy blamed the collapse of the Landbridge scheme on the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, who he said exaggerated the extent to which the plan would impact the replacement project. When they first introduced the Landbridge, he said, the designers were optimistic. The city had new leadership, many of whom had championed the revitalization of the LA River during their campaigns. “But what we learned is that those promises are not easily embraced,” said Mulcahy. “The politics eroded in an immediate way a very sincere opportunity. The Bureau of Engineering read the political tea leaves and said, ‘We’re not supporting this.’” At the June 2 hearing, lawyers for RAC Design Build and EnrichLA argued that the city is obligated to conduct further environmental review before removing the bridge in light of its status as an historical monument. (The bridge was declared an historic monument seven years ago, one year after the initial decision to demolish it.) The city attorney, meanwhile, claimed that delaying the demolition of the old bridge would stop all work on the new span, to the tune of $18,000 a day. Judge James Chalfant decided in favor of the city, on the grounds that the Landbridge’s proponents should have made their case in 2011. That’s when the Bureau of Engineering decided to build the new bridge upstream of, rather than in the same location as, the 1939 structure. “The judge made his ruling on a failed assumption,” said Mulcahy. “We weren’t here in 2011 because the [Bureau of Engineering] changed the work and they never daylighted that fact. We’re not late because the public has failed here, we’re late as a result of the failure of the Bureau of Engineering to act timely and appropriately.” Mulcahy isn’t sure what happens next. “We’re trying to decide what to do,” he said. “The only way to get [the story] out is to follow through with a lawsuit, and that’s not why we’re in this. We don’t exactly know where we’re going to go with this.” In the meantime, he was heartened by the public’s response to the Landbridge proposal. One Angeleno even organized a “wake” on the old bridge following the hearing. “Here we were on a Sunday with kids running around, just free play with no traffic,” said Mulcahy. “It was a day of a park spanning the Los Angeles River, an absolute proof of concept.” Whether or not the Landbridge is built, Mulcahy still sees value in the lessons learned over the past nine months. “We set out to just ask questions,” he said. “What we discovered were gaping holes in the process, and that’s both unfortunate and—I’m a little bit of an eternal optimist—we can turn that on its head. When we see these kinds of failures, these are opportunities to actually improve things. We’ll see where this goes, but it may bring about change that can actually help the next project.”
According to a report in the Bergen Record, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey gave Santiago Calatrava, the renowned Spanish architect whose lust for gold is as vigorous as that of his conquistador forebears, $500,000 for two bridge designs that will not be built and to which Calatrava will retain the copyrights. Sound shady? Anyone who has had the opportunity to use the Port Authority Bus Terminal will not be surprised to find out that it is. In 2012, two Port Authority commissioners (say hello to David Steiner and Anthony Sartor, a couple of wise guys who have resigned since the check signing went down) pushed for inclusion of the world-class architect in two of the agency’s bridge projects. The first, the Goethals Bridge, which connects Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Staten Island, was already years in the making when Steiner brought Calatrava’s plans to the agency. “Beautiful but unusable” was the agency’s verdict. Steiner, however, remained undeterred. Months later, he pushed for Calatrava’s involvement on the Bayonne Bridge. The committee responded in the same way as before. But a series of hush-hush meetings and closed-door negotiations lead the Port Authority to write a check to Calatrava some months later, the official explanation being that they viewed his designs to compare them with their own. Funnily enough, Calatrava was not happy with the windfall. He asked for almost $3 million and would not give consent for the Port Authority to use the rights for the plans otherwise. Stalemate? It would seem so. $500,000 is the maximum amount the agency can spend without submitting the allocation to a public vote by governor-appointed commissioners.
Work was just finished on the Blackfriars Bridge in London, which is now the largest solar bridge in the world. The renovation of the Victorian-era bridge was part of the larger modernization project for the adjoining Blackfriar’s railway station. The station has been fitted with 4,400 photovoltaic panels, which are expected to reduce the station's CO2 emissions by an estimated 511 tons (563 tons) per year. Work began in spring 2009 and the station was operationally complete in time for the 2012 Olympics, with the solar array installation complete in March 2013. The full refurbishment of the station is now also complete. The nearly 20,000-square-feet of new panels are intended to offset about 50% of the station’s energy costs. The adding of solar panels was part of a redesign for the Southfriars Station which includes a new entrance on the south bank of the River Thames, four new platforms and a improved Underground station. The station is a key part of the £6.5 billion (US$10.72 billion) Thameslink Programme, which aims to increase train capacity on one of Europe's busiest stretches of railway running from north to south through central London. "Our work at Blackfriars demonstrates two key benefits of solar," says Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury told Gizmag. "First, it can be integrated into the architecture to create a stunning addition to London’s skyline. Second, it can be integrated into the most complex of engineering projects; in this case being built above a construction site, over a rail track over a river."
The Traneberg Bridge in Stockholm once possessed the world's largest concrete bridge vaults. That was in 1934 following it's completion based on a design from Swedish Modernist Paul Hedqvist. With its size record long surpassed, Swedish firm Visiondivision are calling for alterations to the structure that would garner another wave of notoriety for the bridge some 80 years later. Spanning the Tranebergssund River, the bridge connects a central island of Stockholm city, Kungsholmen, to an outer suburb. Since the 30s the bridge has grown in size to accommodate increased vehicular traffic. The expansions, however, have served to alienate pedestrians using the crossing. Seeking a creative alternative to walking beside a busy highway, Visiondivision is proposing the space beneath the bridge be used as passage for those traversing the river on foot. Such a re-purposing would require minor changes to the extant structure with stairs, fencing, and proper lighting rendering the underbelly usable. The pillars of the Traneberg come ready-made with a hole that would allow for uninterrupted passage along the vault. In the eyes of Visiondivision, the site's potential goes beyond simply creating a more pleasant pedestrian circulation. Renderings show red concrete stairs doubling as seating for films or art to be projected or displayed on the surfaces of the bridge's pillars, though noise and pollution from the road above could have an impact on such activities. The new foot-traffic could also justify the presence of small commercial kiosks, the designers added, to be located on the flat portions of the underside abutting both ends of the vault. How the project will account for the trolls known to frequent bridges in the area remains unclear.
“We got very attracted to the project, and to the idea of making something that reconnects Los Angeles,” Zoltan Pali said of Taylor Yard Bridge, the pedestrian and bicycle bridge designed by his firm, Studio Pali Fekete architects (SPF:a). Originally introduced as part of a mitigations package twenty-two years ago, the bridge, which will span the Los Angeles River between Cypress Park and Elysian Valley, should be completed within two years at a cost of $5.3 million. “Frankly bridges are a very interesting topic,” Pali said. “It’s also one of those types of things that you can design ten bridges in ten minutes, there’s so many different ways of looking at it.” In the case of the Taylor Yard Bridge, the designers faced a unique set of challenges. Large power lines on the Taylor Yard side of the 360-foot span limited the height of the bridge. Also on the Taylor Yard side is a maintenance road, hampering access to the riverbank; on the opposite side is a narrow bike path. Finally, the two banks are about ten feet apart in height, necessitating a 3 percent grade. “[We] had a lot of issues we had to deal with from the standpoint of geometry,” Pali said. To deal with those concerns, and to minimize construction time, Pali and his colleagues chose a lightweight steel construction that eliminated the need for supports in the river bed. The body of the bridge is a 30-foot-by-30-foot box truss, painted orange. A DWP recycled water pipeline, painted purple, will provide a contrasting splash of color. The 17-foot-wide road platform, designed with lanes for pedestrian and bicycle use, “kind of floats, almost seems as if it’s suspended” within the truss, Pali said. The Taylor Yard Bridge is more than just a solution to a set of practical problems. It’s also Pali’s way of pushing back against over-the-top bridge designs. “Truth be told, we really wanted to have a counterpoint philosophically and architecturally from the sort of heroics that lots of folks go through to make bridges,” he explained. The designers aimed for “simplicity, elegance. We wanted to refer to those really beautiful, utilitarian bridges you see around the world, plus the railroad bridges that used to span the LA River. Just do what you need.”
With the purpose of conferring the city of Porto, Portugal a new global identity, architects Pedro Bandeira and Pedro Nuno Ramalho have propositioned for the relocation of the Maria Pia Bridge from its original location on the River Douro to the city center. Plans indicate that the bridge’s framework could be easily dismantled and, though it may seem absurd, the proposal comes with a clever solution. Also called Ponte Dona Maria, the railway bridge was built in 1877 by Gustave Eiffel—the same designer of the Eiffel Tower—but has not realized its original purpose since the early 1990s. Constructed entirely of wrought iron, its double-hinged crescent arch once supported the Lisbon-bound train for 1,158 feet at a height of 200 feet across the River Douro. When built, it was the world’s longest single-arch span. The architects sense that the railway bridge has “lost its scale and dignity; it is hidden and forgotten.” By repositioning it in the center of Porto, the bridge would redeem its visibility and gain significance as a work of art. Remarkably, the undertaking could be easily implemented, with a budget of less than 10 million euros, by disassembling and reassembling the surprisingly light structure within five months. While Bandeira and Ramalho's railway bridge relocation concept may be on track to “bring a new monumentality to the city, the bridge would be a monument of the deindustrialisation, where the materiality of the nineteenth century gives place to the contemporary immateriality,” their proposal failed to win over the Portuguese Council of Architects, whose competition sought schemes for urban regeneration. Nevertheless, the duo contends the move could serve as a spark for urban renewal.
The Swedish Transport Administration launched a conceptual design competition in 2011 for a new bridge in Skuru, Sweden. The competition received great national and international response, including one fanciful proposal by Danish firm, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The competition brief stated that the new bridge should adhere to high aesthetic standards and coincide with the existing bridge and the surrounding valuable cultural and natural landscape. Ingels deploys his characteristic hedonistic sustainability to bring nature onto the bridge itself. While the design only a concept, BIG has presented an innovative structure with the aim to create a symbiotic relationship between infrastructure and nature. The bridge consists of three main elements: a lower level arc-shaped bridge, a linear road bridge above this, and ultra-slim columns which connect the two. The arched bridge is a visual allusion to a hill between both sides of the strait and also responds to the arch of the existing bridge in profile. This space serves as a green pedestrian walkway filled with vegetation and creates an uninterrupted flow of parkland from one shore bank to the other. According to BIG, "Investments in infrastructure are all too often at the expense of the environment—an untouched natural landscape becomes tainted by a highway intersection...Skuru Parkbridge represents a new form of social infrastructure—which is not only aesthetic and environmentally well-integrated with the existing bridge and the natural landscape—but is also socially activating by creating a place and park for the people who live and work on both sides of the strait." All images courtesy BIG.
Proving the beauty and sustainable capability of steel construction, the winning projects of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) 2012-2013 Steel Design Student Competition have been announced. The competition, launched last spring, called for comprehensive and environmentally thoughtful steel designs in two categories. The first, Building to Bridge, sought a plan for a long-span pedestrian bridge whose location would be enriched by the connection it created. And the second, Open, allowed for full flexibility in student design ideas of steel construction. The ACSA chose winners whose projects represented “creative and innovative use of structural steel in the design solution, successful response of the design to its surrounding context, and successful response to basic architectural concepts.” Building to Bridge Category, First Place: Stream_Line Stream_Line by Christopher Garrow, Heather Martin, and Kaitlin Shenk of Philadelphia University designs a pedestrian walkway connecting the north and south ends of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Building off existing abandoned Reading Viaduct railroad tracks, Stream_Line provides an exterior green pathway and an interior pathway for protection from the elements, an exhibition space, a café, and a gift shop. Similar to the High Line in New York City, the bridge is meant for congregation. Situated over Interstate 676, its transparent façade lights up at night “to provide an after hour presence.” The overall project uses sensible materials, like recyclable wood, in addition to its steel construction and plans the bridge's multiple levels for optimized solar shade. Renderings Courtesy ACSA. Open Category, Winner: Injection Trevor Larsen and Ben Pennell of California Polytechnic State University have reimagined a performance arts center in their winning project, Injection. A steel cube sliced horizontally and vertically to create two voids, then stacked and heavily trussed, is a design that aims to insert “randomness, improvisation, and intimacy into the architecture of musical performance.” The entire building contains three theater spaces, one partially sunken below ground and two “floating” within the steel truss structure. The façade on each side of the center is of a different opacity, corresponding to its solar exposure. The vertical plane of the cube that receives the most light is constructed of photovoltaic cells and assorted ventilation spaces. Renderings Courtesy ACSA. Open Category, Winner: Inverted Landscapes Responsibility for the environmental health of the Tijuana River Watershed is shared the two countries that border it: the United States and Mexico. Inverted Landscape, created by Byron Marroquin and Sal Vargas of Woodbury University, designs an international forum space as a physical steel bridge floating over the water itself. Creating large steel landmasses that parallel the landscape in an inverted view, the project provides a Bi-National Auditorium for debate and collaboration on policies regarding the shared body of water. The jury commended Inverted Landscape’s thoughtfulness on the properties of steel; the design could not be constructed in any other material. Renderings Courtesy ACSA.
Heatherwick Studio has envisioned a refreshing way for Londoners to safely commute from the North to the South side of the city that doesn’t involve the hassle of waiting for a bus, squeezing onto the overcrowded "Tube," or sitting in mind-numbing traffic. The firm, which has been working closely with actress and campaigner Joanna Lumley to develop the design, proposed a pedestrian garden bridge that will extend across the River Thames, providing Londoners with a safe, green river crossing. The idea first blossomed in response to the Transport for London’s call for submissions for the design of a pedestrian link that would span the river. They selected Heatherwick Studio’s vibrant design, which features a lush garden walkway supported by two fluted piers that will be filled with flourishing wild flowers and thrive with abundant plant life. According to Design Boom, Lumley enthusiastically commented on the new plans for the walkway by saying, “This garden will be sensational in every way: a place with no noise or traffic where the only sounds will be birdsong and bees buzzing and the wind in the trees, and below the steady rush of water. It will be the slowest way to cross the river, as people will dawdle and lean on parapets and stare at the great cityscapes all around; but it will also be a safe and swift way for the weary commuter to make his way back over the Thames.” This lively new pedestrian river crossing, which is estimated to cost about $95 million, is to be built between the already-existing Blackfriars and Waterloo bridges, and would be the first bridge to be built over the River Thames since the Millenium Bridge in 2000. With green space covering almost 40 percent of the city, London is one of the greenest cities in the world. This new garden walkway will provide London with yet another, always welcome, peaceful green public space that is sure to attract visitors and locals looking to breathe in some fresh air and appreciate the pleasant riverside views.
For the first time in half a century, residents of Cincinnati and Covington, Ky. can traverse the Ohio River on foot via Roebling Bridge, thanks to a pedestrian connector reopened June 4. The Roebling Bridge Pedestrian Connector ties Cincinnati’s central riverfront, the site of some major mixed-use development of late, to the city of Covington. The $430,000 project is part of The Banks’ public infrastructure improvement program. Lane closures will accompany renovations on the north end of the bridge, where a new roundabout and traffic signal will take a few months to complete. Pedestrians, however, can walk on through. Let's just hope a certain New York City mayoral candidate doesn't confuse the Roebling Bridge with its big brother in Brooklyn and snap a photo for his website!
Los Angeles’ impressive new bridges have gotten a lot of press lately, including HNTB’s epic 6th Street Viaduct and Andrew Leicester’s unusual so-called basket bridge for the Metro Pasadena Gold Line extension. But one crossing is being worked on in total secrecy: a span over the 101 Freeway at Los Angeles Street, connecting the Civic Center and the Pueblo de Los Angeles. Artists Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess, who run the city’s Materials and Applications gallery in Silver Lake, are designing the bridge. No renderings have been unveiled, and it’s all very top secret within the city, which is why eavesdrop is on the case. And while Thom Mayne (101 pedestrian bridge) and Asymptote (Steel Cloud) have both failed to make similar ideas happen, this looks like it’s actually moving. Stay tuned.