los angeles, california
In designing the Riverside Bridge, MacDonald Architects picked up the essence of the pre-existing bridge and tied into the “family of arched bridges” over the Los Angeles River. To recall the old bridge which had been built in the 1920s, MacDonald Architects studied the old structure and brought the design attributes of the form into a new contemporary design. The new arched beam retaining structure is reminiscent of the original roadway retaining structure below Griffith Park, and the arches of the main span of the old bridge are also reflected in the new designs. The scheme follows the same general design concept in duplicating the solids and voids of the old bridge. The colors and structure of the bridge design reflect both the nearby Avenue 19 bridge and the underside of the 110 freeway which intersects the river in this location.
While duplicating the massing of the old bridge to maintain the historical element, the design scheme also created enhancements that make the bridge more accommodating to the end user than the original structure. Belvederes and wide sidewalks were incorporated into the design, which add a number of additional uses for the bridge. The belvederes can be used for rest areas, observation points, places for public art, and river festivals while the wide sidewalks are accommodating for both pedestrians and bicyclists. Lighted monuments are placed at the belvederes to enhance the passage over the main river spans. Design of details such as handrails, light posts, and patterns of the bridge reduce the scale of the roadway to human dimension. Additionally, the new design creates potential for new and exciting uses in the future, such as waterfalls coming off the main pier and other areas for public art.