Chicago design firm wins Spark! Award for Glow Bridge design

Longest pedestrian bridge ever would span Pittsburgh’s three rivers

News 4240 Architecture July 13, 2007
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The Chicago studio of 4240 Architecture, an 80-person international design firm, won a Spark! Award for the design of the proposed Glow Bridge, a pedestrian bridge in Pittsburgh that is molded from carbon fiber reinforced polymer.

The bridge was one of 62 winners and one of only 15 Spark! Awards. The Glow Bridge won this top honor in the architecture/design category. The first-ever Spark Awards competition (http://www.sparkawards.com) recognizes superior design for products and buildings in seven categories that improve people’s lives, health and the environment.

To create the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, 4240 used a new plastic composite that was selected with the help of carbon fiber specialist Comptek Structural Composites Inc. The same carbon fiber has been used to repair bridges and on F-22 Raptor fighter planes, but never for a bridge.

4240 also collaborated with Joseph Burns, structural engineer from Thornton Tomasetti, on the design, which creates an up-to-date image for the Steel City that represents the future in Pittsburgh’s vast materials science resources and manufacturing prowess. Besides enabling 4240 to create an ultra-slim profile for the pedestrian crossing, the carbon fiber absorbs daylight and then glows in the dark to illuminate the Pittsburgh riverfront as its steel factories once did.

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