Diller Scofidio + Renfro builds looping steel Park Union Bridge in Colorado

Architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro has built the 250-foot-long Park Union Bridge in Colorado Springs that connects to the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum.

The bridge connects the museum celebrating America’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes, also designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, to the America the Beautiful Park in Colorado.

Park Union Bridge by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in Colorado Springs
The bridge connects a park to a museum

Park Union Bridge is 25 feet high (7.6 metres) and spans an active railyard. The bridge by Diller Scofidio + Renfro is part of the studio’s design for the museum, which opened in 2020.

Two interlocking loops of steel arch over the bridge to form a window that frames views of the surrounding landscape. At night, the bridge lights up to illuminate the walkway.

Steel bridge by Diller Scofidio + Renfro over a railway line in Colorado Springs
A looping steel canopy frames mountain views

“The bridge is an exercise in fitness, both in terms of material and geometry,” said Diller Scofidio + Renfro lead designer Benjamin Gilmartin.

“The hybrid steel structure functions as an arch and a truss, elegantly preserving views from Downtown to the majestic ranges of Pikes Peak.”

Pedestrians and cyclists using Park Union Bridge in Colorado Springs
Park Union Bridge is for pedestrians and cyclists

The bridge is designed for pedestrians and cyclists, connecting to local pathways including the Pikes Peak Greenway and the Midland Trail.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro created a modular design for Park Union Bridge, which was prefabricated in Houston, Texas. The deck is made of concrete, with painted structural steel elements and stainless steel cables.

Sections of the 550-ton bridge were then driven up to Colorado Springs in one weekend on self-propelled modular transporters – wheeled vehicles specifically designed to carry large and heavy loads such as cranes and mining equipment.

Modules were welded together on the ground next to the site and hoisted into place over eight hours, in a process carefully choreographed to minimise the time needed to shut the railyard.

Park Union Bridge aerial view at night with a train
The bridge spans an active railyard in Colorado Springs

Stairs wrap around a glass elevator that connects the bridge to the ground on the side of the park.

The US Olympic and Paralympic Museum is composed of four aluminium-clad volumes. It is accessed via a ramp and designed to be completely wheelchair accessible, as is the new bridge leading to it.

Steel bridge by Diller Scofidio + Renfro at night with lights
The bridge lights up at night

More projects by Diller Scofidio + Renfro include the Tianjin Juilliard School in China and plans for the athletes’ village for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Milan.

The photography is by Jason O’Rear.


Project credits:

Architects: Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Architect of Record: Anderson Mason Dale Architects
Client: City of Colorado Springs
Structural engineer: Arup
Structural engineer bridge abutments: KL&A
Railroad consultant: Felsburg Holt &. Ullevig and FUHueng
Steel fabricator: KING Fabrication
General contractor: Kewit Construction
Lighting: Tillotson Design Associates
Onsite inspector: Terracon

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