Acting as a connection point between two waterfront parks for the city of Providence in Rhode Island, USA, an extensive bridge has been constructed across the Providence River that features terraced greenspaces, effectively creating one large, seamless greenspace and is designed to foster social interaction and community integration.
Spanning across 120 metres, the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge was constructed by architect Inform Studio and structural engineer Buro Happold.
The bridge connects the east and west sides of Providence through two new waterfront parks that are located on either side of the River, creating one large greenspace for the community to enjoy. The bridge also incorporates five pre-existing piers along the river.
The bridge is built out of a steel superstructure, clad in modular pnels of Wana wood. This wood was chosen for its durability and rot-resistance, in addition to uts use in boat building, in order to allude to the area’s marine history.
Inform Studio said, "With modern innovations, this exceptionally versatile material was used to capture formal characteristics reminiscent of historical ships while simultaneously transitioning into an innovative contemporary solution.”
When developing the project, Buro Happold carried out impact assessments to understand if the new intervention would be affected by rising sea levels, which resulted in the bridge being raised by 0.5 metres.
The bridge is comprised of two levels that allow bikers, runners and walkers to use the bridge safely. The terraced gardens that protrude from the curving bridge provide places for passersby to sit down, relax, and enjoy the waterfront. The bridge faces south with plantings and wide steps that act as seating. On the east side of the bridge, the path splits off.
Inform Studio and Buro Happold designed the bridge for the international competition that called for a link to be created between the two new parks.
"As a part of the Waterfront Park Master Plan, the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge had a significant responsibility to unify the East and West Park spaces into an integrated public environment synthesising both urban and natural conditions," commented Inform Studio.
The bridge is constructed on the foundations of an abandoned freeway infrastructure and marks part of a larger redevelopment project for the harbourside and downtown areas of Providence. The bridge connects the past with the present, acting as an important green gateway and as a symbol of the city’s renewal.