You've seen the pieces of our bridge over the past few weeks- all the steel, wood, and welding that is going into making this design a reality. Very soon, all of the pieces will be ready for assembly and the design will become a reality. The Smith Creek Pedestrian Bridge is more than just a bridge, though. Through our design, we are helping Clifton Forge bridge the gap between the historic downtown and Church Street.
When coming up with a design for the bridge, we kept the Masonic Amphitheatre in mind. The design has similar elements to the Amphitheatre, as well as a similar material palette. We wanted to make sure the bridge felt like a part of the site, like it fit in with the Amphitheatre and the town.
We are using reclaimed white oak from the old tire warehouse that used to occupy the site in the bridge, as well as new steel beams and a custom railing design. Integrated within the railing system are LED light fixtures to guide visitors along the bridge at night.
Supporting the bridge is a forest of steel columns. Walking paths lead around the site up to the forest of columns, where the path widens and each visitor can create his own way of passing beneath the bridge and through the columns.
The bridge consists of four parts- the bridge which spans Smith Creek, a structural landing called the "hub", a ramp, and a staircase. The bridge, stair, and ramp all branch off from the structural hub.
Transparency of design was an integral part of the overall concept. The bridge maintains a thin profile to emphasize that transparency, similar to that of the existing bridge. Both the ramp and bridge are slightly sloped to accomodate changes in the ground elevation.
The remainder of the site is divided into multiple landscaped zones, including a grassy lawn adjacent to the amphitheatre, as well as a line of tall grasses that border the creek bed. A garden of labyrinth-like paths greet visitors as they descend the stair and make their way towards the amphitheatre.
We hope that everyone in the town will enjoy this design for the Smith Creek Pedestrian Bridge and Park, and that the park becomes a cherished place in Clifton Forge.
The Virginia Tech design/buildLAB is a Project Based Experiential Learning program focused on the research, development and implementation of innovative construction methods and architectural designs. Students collaborate with local communities and industry experts to conceive and realize built architecture projects that are both educational and charitable in nature. The blog is run by design/buildLAB students who are designing and building a fieldhouse for the Clifton Forge Little League.