Main Street Bridge
Designer: Spiro Pollalis Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Prof. Pollalis's latest bridge project is the replacement of the Main Street Bridge in Columbus, Ohio, a bridge that serves as a key element of the revitalization of the Columbus Civic Center. The bridge is a low arch, 700 foot long (215 m) over the Scioto River, with construction scheduled to start in October 2005.
Prof. Pollalis's belief is that bridges have crossed the engineering boundaries and have entered the discourse of architecture. Bridges add value to urban and regional development and create desirable public spaces. Pedestrian-friendly bridges are suitable to make statements, attract inhabitants and visitors, and provide a symbol for the built environment that identifies and sets apart the new developments, giving them an edge in regional competition. Often, bridges become the prominent part of large public projects.
Furthermore, bridges offer an alternative to large-scale sculptures and ornamental structures. By embodying art in the utilitarian structure of a bridge, the power of art increases and, with the curiosity of the laymen on how the bridge functions, makes a lasting impression on people, often more effective than other works of architecture could achieve. Thus, seeking a symbol for their cities or neighborhoods, a magnet for attracting people and as a booster for development, authorities are willing to reconsider the commissioning of bridge design and entertain the idea of allowing the designers to explore innovative ways of spanning from A to B.
Within the above school of though, Prof. Pollalis has designed the Main Street Bridge in downtown Columbus. This bridge epitomizes his approach to bridge design by emphasizing the role of pedestrians and bicyclists in the design of an asymmetrical cross-section, as well a sculptural approach to the various elements of the bridge with a constrained departure of traditional engineering practice. At the same time, exaggerations are avoided, maintaining a good engineering practice and simplicity.