Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge in the US frames views with oculus structure

Located in Colorado Springs, Diller Scofidio + Renfro's new anticipated bridge equipped with bicycle lanes will link America the Beautiful Park with the downtown city.

by STIRworld Published on : Oct 13, 2020

The highly awaited Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge, an upcoming pedestrian gateway in the area, was recently placed on its abutments in Colorado Springs, USA. The project, led by interdisciplinary design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro, seeks to unite America the Beautiful Park with downtown Colorado Springs by stretching the east-west axis of Vermijo Avenue. The new pedestrian bridge will revitalise the urban fabric of downtown Colorado Springs, a plan that has been in progress for decades.

The new pedestrian bridge will revitalise the urban fabric | Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge by Diller Scofidio + Renfro | STIRworld
The new pedestrian bridge will revitalise the urban fabric Image: Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The bridge, hovering over the railyard, sought inspiration from the gravity-defying motion of athletes, being situated adjacent to the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum complex. The museum is a new cultural facility recognised by the International Olympic Committee, designed by the same team as the bridge.

  • The bridge hovers over the railyard | Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge | Diller Scofidio + Renfro | STIRworld
    The bridge hovers over the railyard Image: Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro
  • Plan view of the upcoming structure | Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge | Diller Scofidio + Renfro | STIRworld
    Plan view of the upcoming structure Image: Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge presents a gateway to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum housed in a 60,000 sqft museum at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The museum will act as an anchor to the new City for Champions District and will form a new axis spanning across downtown Colorado Springs to the America the Beautiful Park.

The 250-foot curved steel bridge will link the museum and park with two interlocked loops that stretch out from either side of the railyard, along with a budding network of pedestrian bicycle paths including the Pikes Peak Greenway and Midland Trail running alongside Monument Creek.

  • The bridge is an exercise in fitness - both in terms of material and geometry | Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge | Diller Scofidio + Renfro | STIRworld
    The bridge is an exercise in fitness - both in terms of material and geometry Image: Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro
  • The pedestrian bridge presents a gateway to the United States Olympic Training Center | Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge | Diller Scofidio + Renfro | STIRworld
    The pedestrian bridge presents a gateway to the United States Olympic Training Center Image: Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

DS+R Partner-in-Charge and Lead Designer Benjamin Gilmartin noted, “The bridge is an exercise in fitness - both in terms of material and geometry. The hybrid steel structure system functions as an arch and a truss, elegantly preserving views from Downtown to the majestic mountain ranges of the Colorado Rockies".

The bridge serves as a distinct lookout to Pikes Peak-America's Mountain | Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge | Diller Scofidio + Renfro | STIRworld
The bridge serves as a distinct lookout to Pikes Peak-America's Mountain Image: Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The ample width of the bridge and the view-capturing stairs and glass elevator securely serves people of all ages and abilities, on both bikes and on foot. An oculus occupies either side of the bridge at the widest points to frame the museum and downtown area, a platform for train spotting below, and a distinct lookout to Pikes Peak-America's Mountain. Lighting along the bridge will outline a single vector in the direction of the tracks, creating a sense of speed and motion while providing illumination for pedestrians and cyclists in the evenings.

The prefabricated bridge was assembled by King Fabrication in Houston, Texas and a full fit up was administered in May 2020 to guarantee a continuous geometry.  The bridge was then transported to Colorado Springs in sections where it was assembled and welded together adjacent to the rail yard in June 2020. The structure was then equipped with a concrete walking surface, parapets, and architectural finishes.

The prefabricated 300-ton superstructure being driven into place | Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge | Diller Scofidio + Renfro | STIRworld
The prefabricated 300-ton superstructure being driven into place Image: Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The entire 500-ton superstructure was driven into place using self-propelled modular transporters to place the entire bridge on its abutments. The feat was achieved within an eight-hour window to minimise outage for the rail lines and yard in October 2020. The project is slated for completion in 2021.

Project Details

Name: Southwest Downtown Pedestrian Bridge
Location: Colorado Springs, USA
Design Architects: Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Executive Architect: Anderson Mason Dale Architects
Structural Engineer: ARUP
Structural Engineer (Bridge Abutments): KL&A
Steel Fabricator: KING Fabrication
General Contractor: Kiewit Construction

(Text by Ankitha Gattupalli, intern at stirworld.com)

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