Park Union Bridge: Built Aerodynamics

September 21, 2022

Can a bridge be fast? The Park Union Bridge in Colorado Springs definitely looks like it, at least.

As is the way of bridges, of course, the Park Union Bridge in Colorado Springs remains in place, unmoved. Nonetheless, the structure by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which opened in 2021, somehow looks rather fast with the way it tapers in such a streamlined manner toward both ends. That's intentional, too. After all, the seemingly gravity-defying movements of top athletes served as a source of inspiration. The reference to sports stems from, among other things, the immediately adjacent U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, which was also designed by the New York architects.

02_Park_Union_Bridge_Iwan_Baan_NEU© Iwan Baan

Each side of the rotationally symmetrical 75-meter-long bicycle and pedestrian bridge has an enclosed section and an open section, each occupying slightly more than half. In the middle, the openings on both sides overlap each other, forming an eye at the widest and highest point of the steel structure. This serves as an observation deck with views of downtown and the museum to the east, the Rocky Mountains to the west, and the railroad yard below. Thanks to the bridge, the latter barrier is overcome and the urban fabric of downtown Colorado Springs is restored by now making America the Beautiful Park accessible to bicyclists and pedestrians.

The individual components of the prefabricated bridge were delivered by self-propelled modular transporters. Once they arrived, everything was first assembled and welded together on the ground and then lifted onto the abutments in an eight-hour finale.

By the way, this piece of built aerodynamics looks particularly fast in the dark when it glows from within.