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The Grand Avenue Park Bridge in Everett, Washington is a marriage of functional demands and aesthetic appeal. Seattle-based LMN Architects and KPFF Consulting Engineers completed this 257-foot-long asymmetrical bridge within three years in August 2020. The bridge connects Everett’s elevated Grand Avenue Park with the growing waterfront district and is bringing along with it a series of new civic spaces.

The Grand Avenue Bridge is an acknowledgement to the traditional railroad trusses that is found commonly across the Pacific Northwest. The now iconic bridge is made with weathering steel and aluminum guardrails with bespoke perforation that shimmers when illuminated at night. The neighborhood had faced connectivity issues due to the five-lane highway, BNSF railroad tracks and a steep slope of 80 feet. The designing team met the challenge by weaving together pedestrian ramps and stairs into the bridge, anchoring the structure with a vertical concrete tower and utility core on the waterfront side and tucking it below Grand Avenue Park thus preserving the view from the elevated park.

The weathering steel structure is contrasted with 400 aluminum panels which were perforated with a CNC Waterjet using a computer script that automated the layout, numbering and cut file production. This ensured that each aluminum panel is unique and responsive to the geometry of the bridge as well as fulfills varying guardrail requirements. The varied density of perforations was engineered to enhance reflectivity of the lights while minimizing glare and light pollution. In a press statement, LMN Partner Stephen Van Dyck, AIA said that Grand Avenue Park Bridge is a destination. The bridge’s paths, stairs and spaces create a variety of views beyond and within that make it a place of discovery.

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