The latest bridge from Spanish tension-element guru Santiago Calatrava, renowned architect behind the Milwaukee Art Museum, Puente del Alamillo, and the upcoming World Trade Center Transportation Hub, will be his first vehicular bridge in the United States. Construction has been completed on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, the first in a series of Calatrava-designed crossings over Dallas' Trinity River. It will act as a literal and metaphorical gateway to the city. This new bridge links the banks of the Trinity River, with hopes of making the area a lively gathering place. Calatrava wants to rethink the riverfront and its capacity to bring in development as part of the city's urban revitalization efforts. He stated he envisions the Trinity River Corridor as the heart of the city, a recreational area much like New York's Central Park. The bridge is the first step in making the waterfront a focal point for recreation. “During my first visit to Dallas I realized that the river basin had the potential to be of defining importance to the city’s future development,” said Calatrava. The structure is a signature Calatrava design with glowing white arch and supporting suspension cables. Supporting over 14,000 cars per day, the new bridge is part of a larger project involving the replacement of Interstate Highway 30. The Trinity Trust Group, a nonprofit supporting revitalization of the riverfront, will host a series of inaugural events, and Calatrava will be in Dallas this weekend for an opening ceremony complete with fireworks, a Lyle Lovett concert, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Fingers crossed that the architect himself will hoist the giant scissors.) The bridge is planned to open to traffic March 29.
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Laser scanning technology helped a Minnesota bridge find its third homeOne of 24 historic bridges chosen for preservation by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Bridge 5721 is one of the state’s only remaining wrought iron bridge structures. The bridge was originally built to carry pedestrians over a river in Sauk Center, Minnesota, in 1870, before modern steel production methods had become available. In 1937, the bridge was disassembled and moved to span the Little Fork River near the town of Silverdale. But more than two years ago, the structure began its journey to a third incarnation, this time as an equestrian and pedestrian bridge for the Gateway Trail in the town of Stillwater, near Minneapolis. Because of the bridge’s provenance and the desire to keep its wrought iron parts intact, the Minnesota DOT worked with new owner Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and structural engineers at HNTB and Olson & Nesvold Engineers (O.N.E.) to collect crucial data for the rehabilitation using new 3-D laser scanning technology. While the project’s main goal was to preserve the 162-foot-long bridge’s historic character, the team nevertheless recognized that certain parts would have to be replaced to ensure the structure’s safety and longevity. Because original plans for the span were unavailable, MN DOT surveyors used a Leica laser scanner to create a 3-D map of the structure before it was disassembled. The scanner fires a laser more than 50,000 times per second, collecting data from reflected light. Placing the camera in nine different locations over the course of two days, the team collected more than 13,000 million data points with x, y, and z coordinates. After each truss member was removed, it was placed on a scanning table and fastener patterns were scanned. The geometric data created a point cloud of the bridge, allowing the team to isolate specific members or generate and view sections even after the span was dismantled and put into storage. See a video of the laser scan below: The team also made detailed drawings of two floor beams to be replaced at either end of the structure. These were given to steel fabricator White Oak Metals, who was able to create new beams that would fit into the structure with the original connections. Other updates included the replacement of roller nest bearings with elastomeric bearings and replacement of 10 steel stringers that had been added after the 1937 move. The 17-foot-wide wooden deck was replaced with lightweight concrete deck to minimize the structure’s dead load. Photos taken more than 100 years ago show that the bridge’s portals originally had a clearance of 14 feet. These had been raised two feet after the move to Silverdale. Using their laser scans, the team determined the fastener patterns of the existing portals and used these to detail replacement portals that would return the bridge to its original clearance. Once steel fabrication was completed last year, erection crews reassembled each truss on the ground in its new Stillwater location. Two cranes slid it into place on new concrete abutments, then the concrete deck, safety railing, and a new four-coat sealing paint system were added to ensure the structure’s continued longevity under its new title, Bridge 82524. See a video of the installation below:
Last night, the AIA SF launched a new exhibition, Architecture of Consequence: San Francisco, kicking off a whole slew of events in its annual Architecture in the City Festival, the country's biggest such celebration of the built environment. The exhibit explores important social needs that architects can address and features the work of four San Francisco firms—Iwamoto Scott Architecture, Fletcher Studio, SOM, and Envelope A+D—side-by-side with four Dutch firms—Van Bergen Kolpa Architecten, 2012 Architecten, ZUS (Zones Humaines Sensibles), and OMA. Originally conceived by the Netherlands Architecture Institute in 2009, this spin-off of the internationally touring exhibit shows that similar preoccupations are on the minds of architects everywhere—whether it's renewable energy, adaptive reuse, local food production, or thoughtful urban infill. David Fletcher gave the whole exhibit a major boost of local flava with Beta-Bridge (above), "a radical reinvention and reuse of the soon-to-be-demolished eastern span of the existing Bay Bridge." He proposed to load the upper deck of the bridge with medical cannabis greenhouses and the lower deck with a data farm; the water used to irrigate the cannabis plants would circulate down and cool off the chugging servers. On the other end of the scale, OMA revisualized the world in terms of energy. In lieu of standard geopolitical boundaries, it divided the European continent into areas such as Biomassburg, Carbon Capture and Storage Republic (CCSR), and Solaria. The exhibition continues through October 21, and each of the San Francisco firms has been paired up with a Dutch firm to give a discussion about their shared interest over the course of the month (see schedule of talks). The Architecture and the City Festival runs through the end of the month, with in-depth tours of new projects such as Bar Agricole (September 10), the ever-popular Home Tours (September 17-18), and a unique opportunity to experience what it's like to navigate the city without sight ("Acoustic Wayfinding for the Blind," (September 20) led by architect Chris Downey, who talked about losing his sight in a 2010 issue of AN). Check out the full calendar of events.
Chimes Bridged. It seems there's something to making music while we walk. First a Swedish architect designed piano stairs and now an artist has created a musical bridge. Blending the sculptural, auditory, and kinetic, artist Mark Nixon designed a whimsical bridge that "sings." Chimes hidden below the span are activated as visitors walk across, Gizmodo says. The musical creation was last displayed at Sculpture by the Sea, an exhibition in Aarhus, Denmark. Village Uncovered. Villa Epecuen, a town located on Lake Epecuen, southwest of Buenos Aires, was flooded in 1985, but now after more than two decades, the water is receding. Photographs by The Atlantic uncover a strange, haunting landscape: aerial views expose the original street layout of the town, while others reveal original trees and cars visible amid the rubble. Carmageddon Averted. For two days last weekend, the busiest stretch of highway in America—the 405 Freeway in LA—was shut down for construction. While many feared disastrous traffic jams bringing life in LA to a halt, it turns out that life went on without incident, according to the LA Times. During the traffic-non-event, JetBlue offered to fly residents between two of the city's airports in Burbank and Long Beach, sparking a challenge from cyclists who said they could make the trip faster. As reported in Slate, it turns out the bikes were right, making the trip nearly an hour-and-a-half faster than by plane. Destruction Archived. Information Aesthetics points us to the “Hiroshima Archive” which documents the extensive societal and structural devastation the atomic bomb caused 66 years ago. Using Google Earth’s virtual globe, the digital archive exhibits topographical maps, contemporary building models, photographs, and personal accounts from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Hiroshima Jogakuin Gaines Association, and the Hachioji Hibakusha (Atomic Bomb Survivors) Association.
The 17th-century Sospiri Bridge (Bridge of Signs) in Venice connects an ancient prison with interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. The bridge crosses the Rio de Palazzo that itself slices through the palace and makes a spectacular vista as one crosses the canal bridge on the Grand Canal. This vista has been rudely emblazed for at least the past five years by a giant advertising sign the wraps the palace walls and over and under the beautiful Sospiri bridge. Finally the Art Newspaper reports that after a campaign led by the British charity Venice in Peril Fund and signed by Norman Foster, Glenn Lowry, and other sculptural dignitaries the sign will be taken down after the contract ends. The sign has been raising about 40,000 Euros a month to help maintain the Doge’s palace. Further, the newspaper reports that Italy’s cultural minister, Giancarlo Galan, claimed “the advertisers themselves must be finding that they are bad publicity.” Venice is of course faced with many other (perhaps more serious) issues like its declining population of full-time residents (from 200,000 to 70,000) over the past 15 years, but the removal of this vulgar signage is some progress for the serene republic!
How do you solve the problem of wildlife crossing a major highway? Build a bridge! On Sunday, the NY Times reported that Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates (MVVA) was named winner of an innovative competition to build a wildlife crossing over a Colorado highway. Together with construction company HNTB, the team's design calls for a lightweight precast span that will improve animal and driver safety as well as help reduce habitat fragmentation. Finalists for the ARC Competition were announced last year including proposals from Balmori Associates, Olin Studio, Janet Rosenberg & Associates, and Zwarts & Jansma Architects. (View a gallery of the finalists' proposals below.) The competition carried a $40,000 award. MVVA's proposal is called hypar-nature after its structural system comprised of hyperbolic paraboloid vaults that support a vegetated wildlife crossing wide enough to create areas of distinct habitat for a variety of animals including forests, shrubs, and meadows. An expansive fence along the highway would shepherd animals to the bridge. Designed to be a prototype for a network of future crossings, the design features modular precast pieces that can easily be set into place over the roadway. While Colorado has not dedicated funds to the project or determined what site to pursue, officials hope to study the finalists' proposals.
Construction continues at Santiago Calatrava's bold Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas after it's signature arch was topped off in June. The cable-stayed bridge is one of three planned as part of the Trinity River Corridor Project, which aims to redevelop the Trinity River and its floodplains, improving traffic flow, increasing parkland, and providing flood protection for the region. Standing 400 feet tall, the Italian-made, steel catenary arch will support six lanes of traffic connecting Singleton Boulevard with with downtown Dallas. When complete in 2011, the 1,200-foot span's cables will create a fluid, sculptural pattern as they descend to the center of the roadway. A time-lapse camera has been set up offering up-to-date construction photos of the bridge.
Ever since the tragic collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis in 2007, politicians and public authorities nationwide have been scrambling to get theirs up to code. New bridges, or at least proposals for them, abound, some nice, some not so much. Fortunately, the Port Authority appears committed to a high-design bridge. The authority released a request for information [PDF] this week, a precursor to an RFQ. The Observer picked up on the PA's interest in building the thing with a public-private partnership, an approach with a mix of benefits—no upfront costs—and risks—less control or long-term revenue. But what is promising, nonetheless, is the PA's commitment to constructing what could be called a statement bridge. It's a pretty strong commitment, especially for an agency with an uneven track record—consider the World Trade Center, JFK, and the loathsome bus terminal. The design requirements, along with these handy renderings, are put thusly in the RFI:
The appearance of the structure is of great importance to the Authority, and the illustrative design has been subject to considerable attention as regards visually significant elements such as pier shape and cable layout. However, the “illustrative design” has been presented at public meetings with the proviso that it may be subject to amendment. The Authority is developing aesthetic requirements to clearly define unacceptable solutions (e.g. “smokestack” pylon design) and help Proposers determine the range of design solutions that may be acceptable. Aesthetic guidelines will cover overall form and function and matters such as edge detailing and finishes that are not yet reflected in the Authority’s “illustrative design. The Authority expects to assign some weight to a DBFM [design, build, finance and maintain] Company’s “visual management plan” which would provide detailed commitments on how aesthetic quality would be taken into account in the detailed design.While we're still trying to figure out what a "smokestack pylon" is, that there are unacceptable designs is at the very least a promising sign, as there will be no race to the bottom, an especially risky proposition with public projects. The prioritization of pedestrian and bicycle access as well as room for a future transit component running down the middle is a nice touch. Granted, such design guidelines are probably a necessity given that the PA will be giving up some control over the project as a result of its undertaking a public-private partnership. Still, given that this may be the new normal, at least for the time being, as the PA continues to commit more money and time at Ground Zero, it's good to see the agency taking a smart, aesthetically driven approach, one that will hopefully persist on sister projects.