Frederick Gottemoeller - Bridgescape LLC

Bridges Speak To Us

Include Everybody

Since bridges are public works, every affected citizen has the right to an opinion about how they are built. Certainly the people who ride or walk across the bridge have that right, but so do people in surrounding communities and in the affected environment. All should consider themselves beneficiaries of the work. Where bridges are defining landmarks in their communities, citizens will be particularly intent on voicing their opinions.Communication, to be successful, must be open, honest, continuous and complete, starting from the scoping of the project, even prior to the development of alternatives. When their participation is successful, the community will consider the resulting bridge theirs.

testThe MonFayette Expressway over the Monongahela River

Citizen Participation: the Mon Fayette Expressway, Pittsburgh, PA

The MonFayette Expressway is a new 26 mile long urban toll road being built by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. It will connect the former industrial areas of the Monongahela Valley with Pittsburgh. Mr. Gottemoeller helped organize Design Advisory Teams (DATs) in five communities that directed the design of the highway in their communities. He worked directly with all five DATs to incorporate urban design features, parks and economic development into their plans.

testThe Rich Street Bridge over the Scioto River

Design in an Historic Civic Center, The Rich Street Bridge, Columbus, Ohio

The new Rich Street Bridge replaced an eight year old traditional concrete arch. That bridge was for many years, together with its two sister bridges and the neo-classical buildings of Columbus' Civic Center, part of the publi's definiing mental image of Columbus. However, with the construction of the ultra modern Central Ohio Science Institute in the 1990's, Columbus changed its mental image from one of traditional architectural values to one of modernity. An arch bridge in a traditional style would no longer have fit. The new Rich Street Bridge uses modern materials and techniques to fashion an open and lightweight structure that fitsthe city's new image but is consistent with the location's tradition of arches. It has become the post card image of Columbus for the 21st century.

Identifying Community Aspirations, Bridging Public Art and Public Works, Reynolda House Museum of America Art, Winston Salem, North Carolina

In 2015 construction will begin on the rebuilding of Business Interstate 40 through the center of Winston-Salem. The highway will close for a number of years, and many of its bridges will be torn down and replaced. This is a unique opportunity for the "City of the Arts" to work with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to ensure that the bridges, which will be seen by 670,000 drivers daily, will be visual landmarks and statements about the importance the city places on architectural beauty. In October, 2008 Mr. Gottemoeller was asked to lead a Forum on the question: to what degree should public works be works of art as well as what emphasis (and what percentage of funding) should be placed on adding additional works of art?

"I know of no safer depository of the ultimate powers of society than the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, then remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion."

Thomas Jefferson