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SPF:architects completes Rainbow Bridge with curvy canopy in Long Beach, California

United States Architecture News - Feb 12, 2018 - 10:08   20010 views

SPF:architects completes Rainbow Bridge with curvy canopy in Long Beach, California

Los Angeles-based architecture firm SPF:architects (SPF:a) has completed a new bridge with a smooth, curvy canopy, creating a direct public connection between two major Long Beach venues: the Long Beach Convention Center and the Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, California.

Named Rainbow Bridge, the 600-foot pedestrian bridge was designed to meet the public's demand to experience the public space between the two nodes in a sensual manner.

SPF:architects completes Rainbow Bridge with curvy canopy in Long Beach, California

The bridge is made up of 76 custom-welded bent-steel ribs framing the top, and approximately 1,200 cubic yards of poured-in-place concrete shaping the base. 

Offering a structural canopy with smooth transition in wavy forms, it features 3,500 color-changing LED node lights, 100 downlights, and 70 floodlights, all of which can be programmed and synched to music to create different effects.

SPF:architects completes Rainbow Bridge with curvy canopy in Long Beach, California

"Once we imagined that the connection between the Performing Arts and Convention Centers could be an experience, it became very exciting," said Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA SPF:a’s founder and design principal. "Creating architecture out of infrastructure is quite rewarding."

SPF:a worked closely with Carl Stahl Architektur to create the custom, three-piece, stainless steel node clip that allows for the bridge’s LED wiring to attach to the canopy. 

SPF:architects completes Rainbow Bridge with curvy canopy in Long Beach, California

"The unique design also allows for ease of installation and replacement flexibility. Power and drainage for the walkway plantings have been hidden within the concrete spine of the bridge," said SPF:a.

The overall design is inspired by its beach surroundings (the bridge was, in fact, first dubbed “Riptide”). Structural elements such as the hull-like formation have been merged with the elegance and uniformity found in waves, while the LEDs were affixed to cables to convey a net-like feeling or the rigging of a ship.

SPF:architects completes Rainbow Bridge with curvy canopy in Long Beach, California

The final form was, however, influenced by budget constraints and the pending development of an adjacent lot. SPF:a brought the overall cost of the project down to $10 million by simplifying the steel geometry and modifying the concrete profile of the bridge. Prior to construction, the bridge called for 80 or more uniquely formed concrete rib beams. 

SPF:architects completes Rainbow Bridge with curvy canopy in Long Beach, California

The design team was able to optimize the geometry in such a way that just one concrete shape could achieve a similar dynamic form when placed in repetition.

"The bridge will serve as a landmark within the Convention Center Complex and greater downtown area," said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. "It will help our economy by stimulating tourism in Long Beach and by making it easier for conventioneers to access the Performing Arts Center."

SPF:architects completes Rainbow Bridge with curvy canopy in Long Beach, California

"We needed a shorter way for people to get from one side of our Convention Center Campus to the other, but we wanted something that would visually complement the modern, contemporary style of our Center’s new special event venues," said Steve Goodling, CEO of the Long Beach Convention Center. 

"Our team looked at a lot of designs, but when we saw the proposal from SPF: architects, we knew we had a winner. The Rainbow Bridge is more than a walkway—it is a functional piece of art!"

SPF:architects completes Rainbow Bridge with curvy canopy in Long Beach, California

SPF:architects completes Rainbow Bridge with curvy canopy in Long Beach, California

SPF:architects completes Rainbow Bridge with curvy canopy in Long Beach, California

SPF:architects completes Rainbow Bridge with curvy canopy in Long Beach, California

Rainbow Bridge has previously received the Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of California for Engineering Excellence.

All images courtesy of SPF:a

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