Saturday, October 16, 2010

Views from a Bridge

Before attending Dark Matters at the Walker Art Center last night, Doug and I spent some time on the nearby Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge. Built in 1988, this pedestrian/bicycle bridge spans 17 lanes of busy street and interstate highway to connect the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with Loring Park, just west of downtown Minneapolis.

Notes John A. Weeks III:

Unlike the industrial style pedestrian bridges built in the 1960s and 1970s, the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge is a somewhat whimsical structure that was designed to be a piece of artwork as well as being a functional bridge. The result is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Twin Cities, one that is as fun as it is functional.

When the freeway system was built in the Twin Cities, it sliced the busy wedge area near Hennepin and Lyndale avenue in two. It had long been desired to tie these two areas of the city back together. An opportunity arose when the city armory was tore down in the early 1980s, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden was later expanded. The thought of making this bridge into a functional sculpture was an obvious choice given that the west end of the structure would land in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Minneapolis based artist Siah Armajani was commissioned to design this structure. His philosophy is that all public buildings and bridges are ornaments, so he was an excellent choice fore the project. The design features two bridge styles that play a prominent role in Minneapolis history. This includes the suspension bridge, such as the first bridge to span the Mississippi, and the arch bridge, of which there are four magnificent examples over the Mississippi River.

The bridge is named in honor of Irene Hixon Whitney . . . a lifelong patron of the arts who had passed away in 1986.

Above: Doug on the Whitney Bridge - Minneapolis, October 15, 2010.

Above: Descending from the Whitney Bridge, Doug and I made our way to
Walker Art Center where we met our friend Brian and watched
the compelling dance performance
Dark Matters.

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

1 comment:

Mareczku said...

Nice pictures.
Thanks for sharing.