They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. With the release of futuristic new renderings for the possible redesign of the West Seattle Bridge, this saying has never felt more appropriate.
Ever since the closure of Seattle’s most-used bridge (shuttling over 100,000 vehicles per day on average) West Seattle residents have been frustrated over meandering commutes and increased traffic. Thankfully, the Seattle office of B+H Architects are trying to give residents something to look forward to with their stylish and sustainable design proposal for the bridge’s reconstruction.
The design-focused firm has submitted a proposal featuring a sleek timber-and-steel hybrid as the main building material. Not only can the bridge be rebuilt more cheaply, durably and more quickly than with traditional concrete, the construction would also reinvigorate Seattle’s timber industry as materials are sourced for the project. Two bridges in Quebec and the Netherlands already use similar technology as the material gains popularity as an alternative to traditional construction techniques.
B+H has specified that the design would re-use the bridge’s existing concrete foundation and piers, but the main compression arches would utilize the wood-and-steel design. The firm has also expressed that a bridge as iconic as the West Seattle Bridge should have a design that represents the region — hence their timber-focused proposal.
One of their renderings even includes plans for a high-rise park on the bridge, for a future in which traffic volumes decrease enough to allow some lanes of the bridge to close. Whether or not the park is included in the final design, their bid for the bridge certainly paints a bright future.