BP Pedestrian Bridge

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The BP Pedestrian Bridge is a girder footbridge in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois, United States. It spans Columbus Drive to connect Maggie Daley Park with Millennium Park, both parts of the larger Grant Park. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, it opened along with the rest of Millennium Park on July 16, 2004. Gehry had been courted by the city to design the bridge and the neighboring Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and eventually agreed to do so after the Pritzker family funded the Pavilion.

BP Pedestrian Bridge, Chicago-Illinois - United States, Gehry Frank, Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM)Named for energy firm BP, which donated $5 million toward its construction, it is the first Gehry-designed bridge to have been completed. BP Pedestrian Bridge is described as snakelike because of its curving form. Designed to bear a heavy load without structural problems caused by its own weight, it has won awards for its use of sheet metal. The bridge is known for its aesthetics, and Gehry’s style is seen in its biomorphic allusions and extensive sculptural use of stainless steel plates to express abstraction.

BP Pedestrian Bridge, Chicago-Illinois - United States, Gehry Frank, Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM)The pedestrian bridge serves as a noise barrier for traffic sounds from Columbus Drive. It is a connecting link between Millennium Park and destinations to the east, such as the nearby lakefront, other parts of Grant Park and a parking garage. BP Pedestrian Bridge uses a concealed box girder design with a concrete base, and its deck is covered by hardwood floor boards. It is designed without handrails, using stainless steel parapets instead. The total length is 285 m, with a five percent slope on its inclined surfaces that makes it barrier free and accessible. Although the bridge is closed in winter because ice cannot be safely removed from its wooden walkway, it has received favorable reviews for its design and aesthetics.

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