The First Street Pedestrian Bridge that will link the Waterfront District to the Bluff View Arts District via First Street will have a dramatic design, city officials said Tuesday.
Mayor Bob Corker unveiled drawings of the span at a meeting of the City Council.
Stroud Watson, Director of the Urban Design Center, joined Mayor Corker in describing the bridge, which officials said will not only serve an important function for the 21st Century Waterfront Plan, but will be a piece of distinctive public art for the city.
The concept of connecting the Bluff View Arts district into the downtown was conceived during the public meetings in 2002 where the fundamental components of the Waterfront Plan were developed. The bridge was designed through a collaborative process by the Planning and Design Center, Hargreaves and Associates, Randall Stout architects and DWH architects.
The two pylons that support the walkway are concrete forms that are a visual reflection of the geologic shape and texture of the Tennessee River Bluffs. Close inspection of the concrete form confirms that their look and feel complements the rock bluffs on which the Hunter Museum of American Art sits.
The walkway is a high technology structure that incorporates steel, light weight concrete, structural glass and stainless steel wire that connects the Walnut Street Square through the geologic forms of the pylons onto the sculpture garden at the Hunter. This sequence continues to a public overview looking onto the bluffs and the river.
The bridge's final design is an interpretation that reflects both the natural environment that surrounds it and the technology of the Walnut Street Bridge that will be adjacent to it, it was stated.
At night the walkway surface will appear as single lighted plane suspended in space connecting public places of activity, Mayor Corker said.
Work on the pedestrian bridge starts in June.
Mr. Watson said the bridge will connect to gardens at the Hunter Museum taking the place of a current parking lot.
He said the design is similar in quality to the Arts Nouveau train shelters in Paris. "This will be remembered 100 years from now just as that will be," he said.