Submitted by Jeff Buster on Fri, 06/22/2007 - 12:22.


Vis a vis the proposed new (let’s rebuild the existing) inner belt interstate 90 ODOT bridge in Cleveland:


The Leonard P Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston, Massachusetts is actually joke.  A  trompe l'oeil  in French.   In Spanish,  a el chiste


The Zakim Bridge is a joke because it didn’t need to be the complex, maintenance prone, and expensive bridge that it is.  Look in the photo above.  On the left is a hollow concrete box truss which is typical for modern highways – the Italians perfected this style of viaduct.  Just behind the train signal building is a similar hollow box truss built from steel.  The century old railroad lift bridges are also box trusses, built up from girders. – the train goes through the box rather than traveling on the top surface of the truss as is the case with the concrete and steel box highway trusses.  


Then there is the cable stayed Zakim Bridge which crosses the same Charles River channel that the steel and girder box trusses cross.  The free span of the Zakim didn’t need to be any greater than the free span of the steel box truss (the steel box truss bridge has a support out of sight behind the signal building)  And that’s what makes the Zakim a joke – instead of simplicity – the Zakim goes for show – with lots of lights on it all night – and the traffic clogged on it during the day.   


If the Zakim were in another context – away from the simple and sane box trusses – then maybe the designers and engineers could have pulled it off with the public naïve to the simpler, less expensive options.  But side by side, cheek to jowl,  the Zakim comes off as a farce, a fad bridge.


For my money, form should follow function – as economically as possible.

Zakim cable stayed Bridge, Boston for-web-P1040465.gif200.21 KB

So we are getting a ripoff

So the proposed inner belt bridge is a rip-off of the poorly functional bridge across the Charles?  Am I understanding this correctly?  I remember when we got the Society Building, now Key Center, designed by Cesar Pelli.  Turned out it was just a complete rehash of a building his firm designed/built in Connecticut. What's new?!  Duh.  Put one over on the dumb midwesterners.  They won't know the difference, anyway.