RiverLife Pedestrian Bridge

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2006

 

Spanning almost 1000 feet, the concept design for the West End Pedestrian Bridge was a proposal submitted and awarded honorable mention for the first stage of an international design competition in January 2006.

 

The goal of the competition was to develop a bicycle/pedestrian walkway that would be integrated into the historic West End Bridge, an elegant example of an early 20th Century steel arch roadway bridge design that spans the Ohio River near downtown Pittsburgh.   

 

Our proposal separated the pedestrian/bicycle function completely from the historic structure and developed a freestanding crossing parallel to the old bridge. The proposal was for a bridge that provided a more pedestrian scaled experience crossing the river while facilitating a simpler reconnection with the bike paths and promenades planned along the east and west riverbanks. The solution of a parallel structure also provided an opportunity to view the historic bridge from many unique vantage points along the path.  

 

The Ohio River, being a navigable channel, is required to remain clear of any obstructions. This dictated a long span/clear span solution. Our proposal was to develop a series of pylons placed in the location of an existing jetty approximately 250 feet out from the west riverbank. A gantry like crane geometry was devised to transfer the load of the deck far out into the river back to foundations on the west bank while the remainder of the span on the east was conceived as a long span lightweight deep truss,  

 

In keeping with the design of the original bridge, the gantry pylons and deck structure were to be constructed using open space truss frames and elements minimizing the visual impact of the bridge while establishing a dialogue of structural expression between the old and new.

 

Project: 2006

Engineering Collaboration: Studio NYL

 

 

The Transparent Gantry Pylons and Cable Array

enhances the delecate natureof the structure from a distance. The structure shifting from visually solid to transparent based on the viewers vantage point and reinforced by the curve of the bridge deck.

The Skeletal Structure of the span imparts a sense of transparency alongside the heavy steel structure of the

West End Bridge.