Rockefeller University - Campus Community Bridge and Peggy Rockefeller Plaza
First cable-stayed pedestrian bridge in New York City, connecting dormitories to main campus and spanning busy 63rd Street entrance to FDR Drive. Landscaped plaza.
Weidlinger Associates designed a new cable-stayed pedestrian bridge to join Rockefeller University's south campus and residence halls. The overall length of the self-anchored, cantilever cable-stayed bridge is 180 feet, with a 120-foot main span and 8-foot-wide walkway. One branching arm and the leg of the Y-shaped structure serve as a pedestrian walkway, and the other arm as a utilities pathway. Stability is achieved by a V-shaped steel supporting tower that balances the weight of the deck and by small tie-downs at the ends of the branching arms. The Y-shape is echoed in the bifurcated main tower, unprecedented in a cable stay. Design emphasis was on lightness, clarity, context, and preservation of East River views.
The bridge was manufactured in five pieces and erected in two overnight operations to minimize traffic disruption. Challenges included tight construction space, high wind loads, a stanchion-less design at the south end, and the need to maintain traffic flow during erection.
From the tip of the cantilevered arm at the residence hall, the walkway crosses 63rd Street and branches north to penetrate the wall of the Weiss Building, connects to a new interior mezzanine bridge, and exits to the newly renovated Peggy Rockefeller Plaza. The reworked plaza is linked to a long-neglected group of laboratory buildings. The utilities extension under the walkway freed the apartment building of costly vendor-supplied heat, saving the cost of the bridge in just a few years' time. The design cost only one quarter of that of a rejected design that circled a neighboring building. The elegance of the bridge and new campus entrance and the improved traffic safety have aided recruitment.
The project received numerous awards, including a 2003 AIA NY Chapter Architecture Design Award, 2003 Society of American Registered Architects National Honor Award, 2001 NYACE Engineering Excellence Diamond Award, 2001 Business Week/Architectural Record Award, 2000 AIA NY Chapter Merit Award for Design, and 2000 NY Construction News Bridge Project Merit Award.
Completion Date: 2000 Location: New York, New York Owner or Client: Rockefeller University Prime Consultant(s): WAI Prime (Wendy Evans Joseph Architect)