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Friday 07.24.09

« The Rothko Bridge? | Main | Monday Links »

Willamette transit bridge design update

Concept 1

Today's mixed-use Willamette Transit Bridge design review was similar to July 2nd's event with a great many refinements mostly focused on tower designs (more images as they become available).

Concept 2 tower design with separate paths for bikes and pedestrians

The biggest refinement was the separation of the bicycle and pedestrian lanes at the tower belvederes. It's a good idea if in fact these belvedere's come to pass.

drawings of path separation

Concept 8

Other developments were the unveiling of 8 different tower refinements and though I like concepts 1 and 2, the original rounded tower of concept 7 and 8 still seem the lightest and most elegant. Rectangles simply look bulkier whereas rounded forms nod to organic sources (douglas fir tree trunks etc) and soften the bridge architecture horizontally while preserving its soaring verticality.

the review was mostly focused on tower designs

Other elements like the waterfalls and center shelter from the previous meeting were received much less enthusiastically by the architecture/design crowd on hand. Architect Rick Potestio and Holst Architects Cassidy Bolger both voiced concerns that additional tacked on amenities could needlessly cloud the simplicity of the design. I concur. Thankfully, the architect Donald MacDonald stopped referring to salmon as a "Portland color"... its a beloved as cuisine but few buildings are pink in these parts.

Light Pipe

Another new idea was a caternary "light pipe" which wouldn't be load bearing but would give the design a swooping suspension bridge look. It isn't a bad idea but I'm concerned that such design details would undermine the essential nature of a cable stay bridge which produces these wonderfully sharp triangles. Admission, I like triangles and I think they reflect Portland's status as an urban forest (surrounded by an immense # of douglas fir tree triangles).

Overall, this design is progressing much better than the embarassingly bad CRC design quagmire... I've said it before a design competition is one of the only ways to save that mess. That said, Trimet better expect that the art and design community will expect a very good design when a less preliminary candidate is unveiled in September.

Lastly, many in Portland's art, design and Jewish communities feel that Mark Rothko needs to be acknowledged in his home town, yesterday PORT suggested this bridge be built in honor of Portland's most famous son. We should build a coalition to make certain this is done.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 24, 2009 at 17:28 | Comments (0)


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