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September 29, 2017

Linking Across the UCSD Campus

Eric Naslund


Linking two mesas on the UCSD Campus with a new pedestrian bridge over a natural canyon, Studio E's design was inspired by the following conditions and opportunities:

This nearly level bridge connects two mesa tops across a natural canyon. This is a classic San Diego landscape condition and there is a long history in this region of these sorts of bridges making direct connections when natural features prevent easy access. In this case, the bridge holds straight the line between these two sides with the southern visual termination ending at the upcoming Marketplace being developed as part of the Nueva Mesa West housing development.


The design emphasizes movement and repose and transitions between these two. The center of the span is straight and designed to encourage continual movement while the ends invite lingering and chance meetings. The bridge profile warps and cups to make the lingering spaces and to visually transition to the natural canyonside landform at the ends of the span.

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Bridge Elements:

Pylons: These tapering concrete supports utilize the minimum sectional area to achieve their structural purpose but are chamfered to minimize the visual weight. The center section is recessed in a tall descending vee shape to visually emphasize the reach to support the girder beams.


Cantilevered Deck: The pedestrian and bike surface is concrete with a varying cantilever to allow for the sinuous transitions to make the gathering spaces. The pedestrian zone is textured and colored different from the bike zone to cue users about where they supposed to be.


Benches: cast concrete benches are placed in the gathering zones to make for the lingering and community opportunities.


Railings: Composed of steel bars, these pickets emphasize the differing spaces by transitioning from vertical in the movement zone to warping in and out in the gathering spaces.


Lighting: A continuous LED strip light to suspended along the bike side while single LED low spot lights are placed on the pedestrian side. The lighting concept is to have a continuous level of light for bike movement and a syncopated lighting for the slower pace of a pedestrian.

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