Currently under construction, the Northeastern University Pedestrian Bridge is an integral part of the University’s long-term vision of linking the Huntington Avenue Campus with Columbus Avenue, connecting the Roxbury and Fenway neighborhoods. The first phase of this vision, the recently completed Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex was planned and designed to seamlessly integrate a second 220,000 GSF building, pedestrian bridge and landscape, creating an academic precinct that establishes the University as a premier research institution.
A sloping landscape leads to an accessible path across the train tracks with a pedestrian bridge while shielding the landscape and building from the active tracks. The ISEC is rotated to align with this path, negotiate the slope and invite student traffic through an atrium scaled to serve as the new student hub for an expanded campus. Clad with weathering steel panels, the Pedestrian Bridge will complement the color and form of the ISEC. As the height increases, the facets open to reveal a dramatic view of the Boston skyline as it bridges into the sloped landscape. The landscape operates at the scale of the city, bridging the campus and defining one of Boston’s most exciting and dynamic new public spaces.
Throughout the design process, the team experimented with emerging digital and physical technologies. We developed virtual reality models to understand the close relationship between people and the bridge. At our FabLab, we produced prototypical parapet mockups using a 3-axis CNC router as a means to assess and inform our design decisions at a one-to-one scale. As a way to better understand the implications of the project at the urban and architectural scales, we produced physical models using our in-house digital fabrication tools.
Slated for completion in late 2018, the pedestrian crossing site has been mobilized. King Fabrication produced shop drawings and a 3D fabrication model and then custom-fabricated bridge parapets in their shop in Houston, Texas. The pieces recently shipped to Boston and are being installed on site and outfitted with additional glass and lighting components.
Photo Credit: Garrett House and Parke MacDowell