bay bridge, east span
san francisco-oakland, california
Donald MacDonald Architects provided design services for the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Working with the acclaimed New York bridge engineering firm of Weidlinger Associates, the team designed and conceptualized various modifications on a self-anchoring suspension bridge concept, originally selected by an Engineering Design Advisory Panel. Weidlinger's experience with steel suspension bridges proved very important in creating an aesthetic design of all the components of the bridge. The MacDonald/Weidlinger team also worked with the joint venture of T.Y. Lin International/Moffats & Nichol to create a signature bridge for the San Francisco Bay.
After four presentations, the panel selected the MacDonald/Weidlinger self-anchoring suspension system, favored because this suspension system worked well with the family of the existing San Francisco Bay bridges. The aesthetics were superior and the seismic performance was excellent.
The MacDonald/Weidlinger design team developed ten self-anchoring suspension conceptual bridge designs, different tower structures, cabling systems, and deck profiles. These concepts were tested for structural integrity and aesthetics. Models, architectural renderings done by hand and computers, and structural analysis all played a part in the final winning design.
MacDonald Architects believes their experience in public participation during the design process enabled the public to comprehend the complexities and benefits of signature bridge structures.
Many of our bridge projects are of a grand scale and have a major impact on the environments where they are placed. Our experienced staff is an asset in processing the official approvals and gaining general acceptance of the project by the communities affected. The bike/pedestrian pathway on the East Bay span is a good example of our performance. During the course of approximately ten public meetings, the bicycle coalitions, American Disabilities Act representatives, and regional political groups were brought in agreement on this major addition to the East Bay span.
This signature San Francisco Bay Bridge had many concerned stakeholders: the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, an Engineering Design Advisory Board, eight local counties, the California Department of Transportation, and the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Emeryville. By describing the shapes found in the surrounding region, namely the Berkeley and Oakland hills, and using the final tower design to generate the bridge and skyway elements, MacDonald Architects created a methodology and an architectural vocabulary so that all participants, including the general public, could understand the structure's aesthetics.