wHY Architecture has shown us their expertise on cultural projects at different scales: the Grand Rapids Art Museum (the first LEED Gold certified museum) on the large scale in one side and the Royal/T Gallery on a smaller scale, among other cultural projects shown on their website.
And now they share with us a cultural project on the infrastructure scale that I had the chance to see when I visited their office early this year, which got green light and enters construction phase in 2010: the Art Bridge.
The project is located over the Los Angeles river and it’s very related to it, as most of its structure will be built from trash salvaged from the river itself. This project will achieve what many have been looking for, and that is to reconnect with the river that crosses LA. And I think that it will make it.
You can also watch our interview with Yo-ichiro Hakomori from whY Architecture, filmed at Postopolis! LA earlier this year.
Project description and more images after the break:
Design: 2007-2008 Construction: 2009-2010
The Art Bridge is a product and a reflection of the Los Angeles River, which in turn is the reflection of Los Angeles history. The bridge structure will be built substantially from trash salvaged from the river itself; concrete walls cast with bottle glass, cans, Styrofoam, dirt and debris; floor and pavement made from recycled tires, tennis balls and scrap metal; bridge guardrail made from recycled parts of shopping carts scattered in the riverbed as a symbol of regeneration and sustainable design. Photovoltaic panels on the canopy will generate electricity for lighting at night.
Spanning across the LA River, the Art Bridge not only serves as a pedestrian bridge for the college and school in the community, but also as an interpretative station for viewing and understanding the significance of the Great Wall of Los Angeles mural by artist/muralist Judith Baca. The slit in the bridge floor reveals the river beneath, symbolizing the scar in the landscape manifested by the concreted river, and the division it ultimately created in the community. Walking across this bridge, visitors may experience the time makers, reading about the history of the city as told by the river and by the mural. The bridge will not only serve as a physical connection from the school to the community, but it will also make a connection for the visitor between the history of the river and Los Angeles, and the void in knowledge and awareness of events depicted in the Great Wall of Los Angeles.