Weaving the Gap
Toronto, Ontario | Competition
The bridge structure for the span over the rail yards is derived from the rhythm of the rail tracks and uses a multiplicity of lighter structural elements acting together in a complex pattern to create its support. As with a box truss, the depth of the structure is used for support and inhabited however in this case the structure is more fragmented and shaped into a more contemporary form. The structure responds to span lengths by adding depth at midspan where the moment of the span is highest. It is completely fabricated from plate steel, which has an easy translation into built form using current fabrication technology: plate steel can be cut into any form required by the CAD files provided from the architectural modelling software.
Approaches to the bridge have been placed on fill. This is an economic as well as a design decision. The fi ll may necessitate a small amount of retaining wall however it is generally much more economical in bridge building than structure. The approaches have further been shaped to allow an easy transition on bicycle from the line of travel of the approaches to the direction of the bridge. A shorter stair entrance is also found on either end of the structure for those users who may choose a shorter approach to the structure. The structure extends out over the travelled pedestrian way and in this way the structure becomes a land feature and defines a space for those who are passing the bridge. Enclosure has been designed with meshes, one more dense than the other to provide patterning of the structure. The meshes allow air passage, keeping the enclosed space from becoming stagnant. It also allows rain to penetrate and wash the deck and in this way require less maintenance than a glazed enclosure. As well, the mesh is vandal resistant and easy to clean.