cooper river (arthur ravenel jr.) bridge
charleston, south carolina
The main goal of this architectural design was to create a timeless landmark that will praise and pay homage to the Historic City of Charleston and Mount Pleasant.
From both the drivers' and pedestrians' perspectives, the new bridge evokes a sail motif over the river to compliment the nearby harbor and Waterfront Park. The slender concrete proportions of the single tower scheme reflect the elegance of the City of Charleston. Like the mast of a ship, these proportions were derived through tapering the tower from the base to the top consistently. In addition, the towers are sculpted to appear as refined monuments, seemingly cut from a single block of stone.
Accentuating these towers are light planes, positioned at the apex to reinforce the tower's diamond shape. These lights reinforce the bridge axis, as well as enhance the view of the cables at night. A gem, providing cadence to the tower top, appears in the day as a shining glass scrim. At night the gem can be lit to represent celebratory events in the region. This lighting feature is an icon for the bridge and completes the landmark design as it is viewed from the city.
Details in the hand railings, lampposts, and paving patterns enhance the bridge aesthetic while satisfying the safety criteria for the bridge. They also unify the bridge by being painted to match the other structural elements. All of these features are composed of light, slender components that minimize any obstructions to the motorists' or pedestrians' views of the surrounding landscape.