2012: Transforming the Bridge | 12328

Team: Grant Alford, Christopher Cornecelli

Location: Houston, Texas

Overview: “OPEN PLANk”

OPEN PLANk re-frames, re-contextualizes and re-energizes the latent beauty and remarkable spatial potential of the Detroit-Superior Bridge by inserting a complementary, variegated four-level bar directly into the existing structure. The new addition provides a visual and performative datum – emphatically straight – against which the nuanced geometry (Fig.2) and unique characteristics of the lower-level spaces can be better appreciated. The radical dialogue induced between the new Plank and existing spaces replaces a beautiful but relatively redundant extrusion with a host of new and diverse spatial localities within the site. As a result, the current linear circulation becomes an endless field of potential itineraries and explorations of a familiar but new urban institution.(Fig.1) In cross-section, Open Plank serves as an architectural catalyst and visual foil to the gradual rise and fall of the bridge, while at the same time creating a literal catalog of sectional types waiting to accommodate any event large or small.(Fig.3) The categorical straightness of Open Plank also provides an iconic visual corroboration of the social and spatial connections between the Warehouse District and Ohio City – as urban form viewed from the city and as a literal frame for individuals to experience direct visual connection across the bridge.(Fig.4)

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