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billb

The Marquam may be gone someday, and this bridge will be the most visible south of dntn. Further ,
the handsome towers of the cable-stay could have windmills
if you want to be first at something. I like the soaring
monumental towers compared to
the lumpy lil wave unit.

Dave

I kind of like the wave idea as well - I think Portland has a very nice character as a moderate-sized city, and I think having the bridges be more of an accent to the skyline from the ground rather than making up the skyline themselves is nice. Though I don't think the cable-stay option would look bad either.

Either way, I'm just excited about this happening - commuting from SE 39th and Powell to the South Waterfront by bike, it would mean half as long of a trip (as opposed to going over the Hawthorne Bridge).

I'm curious, is this a sure thing, and they're just deciding on the design, or is the whole project up in the air?

dennis

my only real issue with the cable stay bridge that they are proposing is that is it generic. There are cable stay bridges out there that have a unique character to them and this one could easily be the same way which would show off its uniqueness, but I doubt that would happen.

Really though, I would be happy with either one....and if the OHSU campus ever gets built, this bridge will be a "gateway" into that district.

dennis

my only real issue with the cable stay bridge that they are proposing is that is it generic. There are cable stay bridges out there that have a unique character to them and this one could easily be the same way which would show off its uniqueness, but I doubt that would happen.

Really though, I would be happy with either one....and if the OHSU campus ever gets built, this bridge will be a "gateway" into that district.

Brian Libby

Dennis makes a good point here, which I meant to emphasize in the original post. It seems like if they let Morales stay involved with this, he could help give a cable-stay bridge the details and uniqueness it needs. This designer seems impressive to me so far.

ws

About the cable stay bridge as depicted in the rendering above, what I take issue with is not the cables themselves, or even that the cable towers rise so high above the bridge. What's unappealing to me is the styling of the towers. It just seems kind of crude. I'd hope that if the cable stay becomes the choice, that the towers may have a more streamlined, graceful character.

ws

About the cable stay bridge as depicted in the rendering above, what I take issue with is not the cables themselves, or even that the cable towers rise so high above the bridge. What's unappealing to me is the styling of the towers. It just seems kind of crude. I'd hope that if the cable stay becomes the choice, that the towers may have a more streamlined, graceful styling treatment.

ws

About the cable stay bridge as depicted in the rendering above, what I take issue with is not the cables themselves, or even that the cable towers rise so high above the bridge. What's unappealing to me is the styling of the towers. It just seems kind of crude. I'd hope that if the cable stay becomes the choice, that the towers may have a more streamlined, graceful styling treatment.

Aneeda

WAVE!!!

Brian2

I disagree Brian. The cable stay is my top choice although I think the design of the towers as show by the bridge consultant could be greatly improved. See this cable stay for a more minimalist approach to the towers rather than the giant A-frame in the preliminary light rail bridge designs:

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2004/arts-swiss-0915.html

Rosales is so completely biased in favor of the wave he is doing a disservice to the public process. He has refused to show any other cable-stay designs other than the giant bulky towers and he disparages cable-stay bridges in every other sentence. Certainly, we want design consultants with opinions, but he needs to understand that the bridge decision belongs to the community, not him.

I like both designs, but I do think that this bridge should stand out among the crowd of bridges and will become a true gateway bridge once the South Waterfront district fully develops.

matthew

i think this could be one of those rare moments in a competition like this where most people would agree that it's pretty much a win either way.

while i also prefer the wave for that spot, the cable-stay is just fine.

weird. how often does this happen? lucky portland. most u.s. cities would probably have at least one totally functional, totally formless option still in the running, and probably leading the pack.

matthew

but wait! most u.s. cities wouldn't be planning to build a bridge for trains and pedestrians!

the more i think about it, the more i think that there isn't a whole lot of room for getting up in arms about the design of this bridge. as long as it's done reasonably well and will not be hideous or boring, we should all just be thanking our lucky stars that it's being built at all.

J

this cable stay bridge design is much better that the original one proposed a few months ago with the wide A frames. I second Brian2 on the bias of the designer against the cable stay, Rosales is the designer so he only has himself to blame for a cable stay bridge with "poor details" and an "unattractive" design.

the problem is that hulking and hideous marquam bridge that blocks most views of this bridge. and the ross island bridge blocks the views of it from the south end.

unfortunately its not in a location for making a bridge design statement and where there are good vistas of the bridge. lets be honest as much as we would like to see the marquam come down, it wont happen.

oblong

i like the transparency of the railing for the wave but it seems a little short and squat to me. I know that this has never been suggested before, but could we combine the two and create a waving cable stay?

Andrew

"It’s simply easier for engineers and bridge builders to do what they’ve done before."

Yeah, those lazy engineers and bridge builders, they ruin all the fun.

Rosales is the (only credited) designer, he must make the case for the best bridge and convince the client to stretch on budget if need be. His engineers will give him advice on what is structurally achievable and the cost implications, but they would much rather be involved one the "first" designs Rosales is tooting his own horn about.

Nikos

The cable stay depicted looks a lot like the Charles River bridge in Boston, although the Boston one has pyramid shaped tops for the towers, and they reflect the nearby Bunker Hill Monument! The Charles River Bridge looks very impressive at night, lit up, but again, it is next to a taller, more "aggressive" skyline in Boston.

Babcock

I'm OK with the wave bridge on one condition...they use the cable stayed as a replacement for the Sellwood Bridge. I agree with the comments above and it would be great location for it. Plus, it would bookend the central Portland bridges from the St. Johns to the Sellwood with distinctive, imposing and spectacular bridges.

Potestio

I think that one needs to look at the context to fully assess the appropriate design direction.

With the exception of Matthew 1's comments, I think that no one is considering the designs in relationship to the other bridges, the river, or the urban context.

The Marquam is a bridge so out of scale and lacking in character that all agree its ultimate remove is its best future. When that future happens is anyones guess. For now it is there.

That said, the Ross Island is a very elegant and understated structure, possibly Portland's most lyrical, after the more self-consciously designed St. John's Bridge. Had the recent renovations to the Ross Island included a new and more highlighting coat of paint, and re-installation of the original lighting scheme, the bridge might receive more notice and due attention than it gets.

Herein lies my issues with both finalists. Neither is really very compatible with the Ross Island bridge, which will be its backdrop.

I whole heartedly reject the cable stay. Been there. Done that. Neither timeless or of the moment it substitutes "interesting" for "elegant". It will be at odds in scale and design with both the Ross Island and the Marquam. It should be rejected now. Let Boston have it.

Now for the "wave". It too suffers from an ambition for solving the problem of spanning the river in a new and innovative way. It is more appealing than the cable stay, and has a form that may indeed be beautiful (I am not convinced by the renderings so far, but think it has potential). I think it may actually compliment the Ross Island, and maybe just make the Marquam ugly enough by comparison that we will finally have the nerve to deal with that structure. Better yet, it may provide a mediating scale and line that compensates for the worst of the Marquam.

But (for those of you still reading) Here is the issue in my mind.
We need to value beautiful and logical structurally inspired solutions first and foremost when designing bridges. There is plenty of room for originality, especially when the bridge is a stand-alone structure. And certainly, architect/engineers, most recently Calatrava, have revolutionized bridge design. But Portland is a city with many bridges, and if the sum is to be greater than the whole, then none may detract or diminish from the summation equation. That means that they must work visually in concert. (I am hopeful that they all work structurally, though we know from the Sellwood Bridge fiasco that even that standard has not been met in the past!)

Portland is a great city, not by virtue of its "iconic" buildings or structures, but by the aggregate of all the modest buildings that comprise this city in an urbane and integral way. Portland's distinct character is born of our emphasis on the public realm, and transportation that builds community: public transit, and pedestrian and cycling which allow people to move without the impersonal glass and plastic enclosures of motor vehicles. Portland's architecture is best when it considers its context, its neighbors, its landscape, its light, its history. Therefore, we need a bridge that advances those values.

We have had our run at "iconic" with the Tram. Its ok. But not great. And the collision of steel that is the hospital terminus is not what I consider a vision of beauty. The sublime gondolas themselves are the best part of the project. So lets move on, learn from the experience, and think in broader and more meaningful terms.

With this bridge, we would do well to be modest, yet precise. Make this bridge the simplest solution, the most elegant, the most beautifully proportioned. Make the details great. Make the experience delightful. Consider the design in context so carefully that one cannot photograph one bridge without needing the other (Ross Island) in the image. And consider the Marquam. Can this bridge provide an intermediate scale that humanizes the Marquam?

Thus I say, GET OVER THE UNIQUE, THE INCONIC, THE MOMENT. We need timeless design, as that is what will LAST and ultimately be the most sustainable, because it is worthy of the stewardship of future generations.

Potestio


Charlie Brown

I see both of these designs as rather uncreative and derivative. Both look like poor man's versions of bridges in other cities by top drawer architects. The wave bridge however is my preference, although in other designs I saw the bridge cutting across the river, diagonally, which I thought, set it apart from some of the other bridges and since this bridge is for pedestrians and mass transit, I thought that appropriate, even though it probably adds to the length and cost. My solution would be for a wave bridge that was more asymmetrical and flared out to the side a bit, with an emphasis on pedestrian scale detail.

Justin

the wave is the better of the two. take the context into account. the cable stay bridge is out of scale vertically. i'd also like the wave if it were more asymmetrical. i'm sure it's more difficult structurally, but the waves could be much more elegant if they varied in height and location according to different structural needs.

Peter S.

Maybe it's a result of the renderings, but the wave seems pretty two-dimensional. The way the wave-esque bits stick up feels, I hate to say it, kind of like the applique on the Portland Building. Paper thin, and visible only from certain angles. My perception of this might change with a deeper understanding of the mechanics of the bridge. But the beautiful thing about any good bridge (and the ugly thing about the Marquam) is the expression of the struggle against gravity.

The cable stay could do that, though not as presented. (Really? All the possibilities presented by that school of bridge design and this is what we get? Come on, you're not even trying. Simultaneously boring and bludgeoning.) I don't get that from the wave. It's like a cardboard cutout of a bridge, seemingly standing only because enough Elmer's has been squirted at the base. I don't doubt the wave bridge could well be structurally sound. The designer undoubtedly knows way, way more about structure than I ever will. It's just kind of unbeautiful.

Neither of these are right for the city.

Shadrach

I have always felt that the Sellwood bridge would be the best opportunity to create a truely stunning iconic bridge. The setting is unmarred by either the unimaginitve Ross island or the abominable Marquem. The city melts to greenery with hills on one side and a park and golf course on the other. A unique bridge like the Mérida or the Erasmusburg would capture the imagination and define the landscape. Coupled with the St. John's to the north it would bookend the city with two iconic bridges that spanned the eras...

Instead we will try to create beauty sandwiched between eyesores. The bridge will win accolades no matter what-it is designed for light rail, bicycles, and walking. Under such conditions I am inclined towards understated, let the function speak for it. That being said, the wave better matches the Ross island. There is symmetry to the forms that appeals now if only we can bury the Marquem.

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