Pedestrian Bridge at US Olympic Museum Opens

John Hill
7. July 2021
Photo: Jason O'Rear

The Park Union Bridge opened in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on July 1st, one year after the US Olympic Museum opened to the public. The bridge and building are designed by New York's Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Drawing: Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Note that north is the right.)

A bridge spanning the railroad tracks between the museum and America the Beautiful Park has been part of DS+R's design since being commissioned in 2014 and their unveiling of the preliminary design concept for the US Olympic & Paralympic Museum in May 2015. Over time the design evolved from a forking Y-shaped bridge to a sculptural arching structure with large openings framing views of downtown and the mountain ranges of Pikes Peak.

Photo: Jason O'Rear

The 250-foot-long bridge, engineered with Arup, was fabricated in Houston and delivered to Colorado Springs in six sections. The bridge sections were welded together on the ground just west of the railroad tracks and then placed on the bridge's abutments over eight hours on October 5, 2020:

Photo: Jason O'Rear

DS+R partner Benjamin Gilmartin, who was lead designer on both the bridge and the museum, describes the bridge as "an exercise in fitness — both in terms of material and geometry." The hybrid steel structure combines an arch and a truss into two interlocking loops that "meet" near the middle of the span.

Photo: Jason O'Rear
Photo: Jason O'Rear

The bridge is intended to stitch together a "growing network of pedestrian bicycle paths," according to DS+R, and if the photos provided by them are any indication, the narrow, two-lane bridge is popular with bicyclists but is also a magnet for people on foot; the latter are enticed by the views through the "loops" as well as an overlook at the western end of the bridge by America the Beautiful Park.

Photo: Jason O'Rear

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