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Continued: Commentary: Can we love this bridge?

  • Article by: LINDA MACK
  • Last update: October 12, 2007 - 6:50 PM

So, while the design for the new I-35W bridge isn't love at first sight, it's worth another date. Watching it grow from pubescence to maturity, we may develop a lasting relationship.

Linda Mack writes about architecture and design.

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  • Evaluating the new bridge design

    Saturday October 13, 2007

    Architecture critic Linda Mack reviews the new bridge design and talks about where she hopes it goes from here.

  • ROADS NOT TAKEN

    The three bridge designs not selected were also sleek and modern but were less graceful than the Figg design. The selection was made on both aesthetics and other factors, such as experience.

    Ames/Lunda: The design would have blocked the arched profile of the 10th Avenue Bridge from upstream, as seen here. The sheath of piers is inelegant.

    C.S. McCrossan: The design features vertical towers, but the piers underneath are massive and are not integrated with the towers. The 10th Avenue Bridge is in foreground.

    Walsh/American Bridge: Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava offered an alternative to this distracting design, but it was rejected as potentially unsound.

    Source: Minnesota Department of Transportation

    DETAILS OF THE WINNING DESIGN

    The clean lines and 70-foot-high piers of the new I-35W bridge create an unusually light-filled underside. The thin-waisted piers in Option A, shown below, mirror the geometry of the parabolic curve in the bridge. The piers in Option B, below right, curve parallel to the river.

    Pedestrian bridge: Figg has suggested that a pedestrian bridge could be suspended from the piers to link both sides of the Mississippi. It would hang about 60 feet above the river. Its cost is not included in the current budget.

    Observation decks: Platforms on both banks bring people close to the river. Landscape architect Tom Oslund will design this area.

    Gateway monuments: Figg suggested these two options -- a river marker and a water sculpture -- but is open to others.

    Sources: Minnesota Department of Transportation, FIGG

    THE RÉSUMÉ BRIDGES DESIGNED AND BUILT BY FIGG

    Clark Bridge, Alton, Ill.

    Completed Jan. 1994

    Two pylons with cable-stays make a dramatic river crossing.

    Natchez Trace Parkway Arches, Nashville, Tenn.

    Completed May 1994

    This sleek concrete bridge seems to soar.

    Wabasha St. Bridge, St. Paul.

    Completed July 1998

    A Figg bridge designer was part of the team.

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