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Portland Living Bridges: A Guide to Inhabited Bridges

Portland Living Bridges: By: Nigel A. Fenton

A Guide to Inhabited Bridges


Portland Living Bridges: A Guide To Inhabited Bridges

Table of Contents

Broadway 1913

St. Johns 1931

Freemont 1973

Portland Living Bridges: A Guide To Inhabited Bridges

Steel Bridge I.Current 1912

Conditions -emerging trends -local investment -homeless relelationship -R2D2

Burnside 1926

II.Catastrophic Portland -High Scale Event -Bridge Overpasses -Oregon resiliency plan

Morrison 1958

III.Architectural Design -precedents -Site -Concept -Partners

Hawthorne 1910

Marquam 1966

Milwaukie 2014 Ross Island 1926

Current Conditions

I.Current Conditions

St. Johns

-emerging trends *multiple events are held by the river near bridges *cathedral park under the st. johns bridge hosts a wedding *skaters gather under at the skate park under the burnside bridge


* the saturday market is held under the other side of the bridge *the annual beer festival is held next to the morrison bridge


*the blues festival is one of many activities people attend at ‘the bowl’ adjacent to the hawthorne bridge



current conditions Portland Living Bridges: A Guide To Inhabited Bridges

I.Current Conditions -local investment l




*the city has shown interest in moving activity towards the river and making connections to the other side of the willamette river


China Town







River Place

ront terf a W h Sout


*development in local neighborhoods have invested in similar fashion

Current Conditions

Steel Bridge

I. Current Conditions

-homeless relationship *already inhabit the spaces underneath bridges.


*require attention from local authorities. *local resources




Current Conditions R2D2- Right 2 Dream Too Portland, Oregon -current location: 4th and broadway -proposed location: broadway bridge on ramp I.Current Conditions

Burnside and 4th -R2D2 *ibrahim mubarak founded the non-profit to provide a sober environment where homeless people can have a roof over their heads

- opened on Monday, October 10th, 2011 -previously an adult bookstore -Michael Wright leases the site for $1 a year

Broadway On Ramp

*mayor charlie hales has suggested other properties that proven to be unsuitable

-proposed site for R2D2 -not up to seismic standards -deal includes dropping a $25,000 lawsuit against the city

Amanda Fritz City Commissioner -brokered deal for new location -site currently owned by portland development commision

Patricia Gardner Pearl Ass. Pressident -Opposing the deal -suggests other city owned, abandoned buildings

Architectural Design Krämerbrücke Erfurt, German -inhabited continuously for ~5 centuries. -buildings on the bridge are municipal property and used for retail space.

Old London Bridge -built around 80 C.E -first houses built 1209 -rent paid by the occupants used for the upkeep of bridge. -1763 houses were demolished

Pulteney Bridge Bath, England

III.Architectural Design

-constructed in 1773 -bridge was restored in the 20th century. -last habitable bridge in Britain.

-precedents *housing on bridges has been a design concept developed in european countries for centuries.

*Many have withstood the tests of time

Ponte di Rialto Venice, Italy -After many collapses the bridge was rebuilt with stone from 1589-1591 -The bridge has stood the test of time and a popular tourist attraction

Ponte Vecchio Florence, Italy -Built in 996 -It has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. -current bridge is all stone. -houses have always been dedicated to merchants

Architectural Design The Big Dig Boston, Massachusettes -planning started in 1982 -construction was done from 1991-2006 -development process has created innovative achievements.

High Line New York, New York -The overpasses were built in the 1930s -The last train ran in 1980 -The ďŹ rst section of the park opened in 2009

III.Architectural Design

III.Architectural Design



*modern day achievements *modern day


*present iterations have benefitted the surrounding community

Gulliver Survival Station Cologne, Germany -Design Conceived in 1995 -Doors opened 2001. -dormitory, showers, food and mailboxes. -ďŹ lls social gap

*present iterations

Blanchet House have benefitted the surrounding community Portland, Oregon -SERA Architects -ďŹ rst started in 1938 -original building bought in 1958 -current location constructed in 2012

Bud Clark Commons Portland, Oregon -Holst Architecture -built in 2011 -130 studios for the homeless -full kitchens, baths, and storage areas

Architectural Design

Jay Ruskin Good Architects Dave Otte Holst Architects

III.Architectural Design

-Partners *dave otte designed the bud clark commons building

Carissa Mylin SERA Architects

*carissa mylin and josh lupkin designed the blanchet house

*jay ruskin, yumei wang and gerald william jr. are co-authors of the oregon resilience plan.

Josh Lupkin SERA Architects

Yumei Wang OdoGAMI

Kent Yu Degenkolb Engineers

Architectural Design

III.Architectural Design


*Yumei Wang

Yumei Wang Geotechnical Engineer -Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (ODOgami) -focuses on lowering risks from earthquakes, tsunamis, and landslides. I initially found Yumei’s name referenced in an article titled: ‘The First Minute’ by Nathan Gilles. The article accounts how Portland will fair the first minute after a high level earthquake. I contacted her to find out if the details of the article were accurate and I found her response to be eye opening and extremely shocking. Here’s what she had to say: Overall Nathan’s article is fairly accurate with some added artistic license. It’s most likely that the bridges failure would be the failure of the trusses and not the counterweights. Overpasses that connect the bridges, including the Broadway bridge, have not been upgraded for seismic conditions and would not fair well from an earthquake. A bridge as old as Broadway (100 years as of 2013) were not designed for earthquakes since one does not typically occur in a time frame humans are able to comprehend, but one will definitely happen. Now structures are designed to accommodate for such an occurrence. The Oregon Resilience Plan has been out since early this years. The intent is that it will be shared with a broad audience so that awareness is out there. There has been some press on it but it can be hard to get information out to people. The legislature recently passed a bill to put a task force together to turn it into an action plan. It was put together by an advisory committee of volunteers including myself and other professionals. Thus far the information is being spread by word of mouth but it’s important that people are aware. In the 90’s I was given the task to determine the effects of a high level event. I estimated that a magnitude 8.5 scale earthquake would cause damage to 250,000 buildings since the older buildings were not built to the higher standards that current buildings are built to. The consensus in 2000 was that the Cascade ridge line could actually produce a level 9 event. The research determined that emergency response facilities such as hospitals, fire stations and police stations, as well as public schools (k-12 and community colleges) were seen as being the most essential buildings and a law was passed in 2001 to seismically upgrade these buildings. A grant exist now to allow these buildings to receive money to make these upgrades. Although the amount of money available is not substantial it shows that government is willing to help make facility upgrades to buildings important to the community. For example Alameda School in Portland was recently upgraded with $1.5 million dollars (the cap for the grant allowance) regardless of the fact that the state does not own the building. Currently the transportation infrastructure in Portland is not ready for a major disaster. It’s a major problem because most of the older bridges are not ready for an event and the city would potentially be separated by the Willamette river. The Milwaukee bridge and the Sellwood bridge are the only bridges built to higher seismic standards. In case of an event the best way to cross the river would be these two connections. Alternate modes like dragon boats are available but the reconstruction of the older bridges moving parts would take some time to repair since they typically do poorly in seismic events. In regards to your thesis it’s absolutely feasible to build housing that can support the overpasses connecting the bridges and it would help during the reconstruction process after an event.

Architectural Design Joshua Lupkin Architect -SERA Architects -job captain -Blanchet House

The Blanchet House has been an operating non-for-profit organization for over 50 years. Before the original Blanchet House was established in 1952 it was a three story tall building called the Yamaguchi Hotel. It took up an eighth of a Portland block and in 1958 the Blanchet House purchased it for $25,000. The block the institution resides on is owned by the Portland Development Committee (PDC). In 2011 they made an exchange with the Blanchet House to receive new accommodations. Provided they give up their old building Blanchet could develop a new building on the opposite corner. Although the address has changed to 3rd avenue and Glisan street the initial intent, to bring men in to serve food in exchange for housing, has not. The current Blanchet organization includes: ten people sitting on the board; an executive director, that runs the house; the kitchen manager, who ensures that the kitchen is running; and one floor managers on each floor. The entire process from concept to construction included 3 years of designing and 1 year of construction. During this the Blanchet House was in the old building and remained operational concurrently throughout the development of their new structure. III.Architectural When considering the design they looked at the functions of Design the pre-existing building as well as the mental and physical conditions of the tenants. There are four floors total. The first floor consist of the main dining room, a large kitchen and a small loading and receiving area. Josh, and interior designer Carissa Mylin, worked together to create an impressive dining hall consisting of two large, glazed walls, and smooth concrete surfaces with wood accents that provide a warm, bright and -Partners inviting space. Now cueing occurs inside the main hall; however, due to the increase in the size of the building the Blanchet House is capable of serving 100 more mouths a day; therefore, cueing extends outside the main entrance on 3rd avenue and wraps around to Glisan street. Once people get their meals and finish they are allowed to reenter the cueing line. People often come through the line three times in a one visit. On the other hand, the three floors above are simply for housing. Each floor consists of: a communal living room, with a kitchen that shares the dining hall’s glazed walls; a shared bathroom, of generous size, with showers and toilets; and laundry facilities. To help reduce the cost of construction the expanded dorm rooms include: exposed concrete *Joshua Lupkin ceilings; simple flooring; clean walls; and durable furniture. The new building’s initial program included a transitional housing function on the the fourth floor. It was ran by the Coordinated Care Entity (CCE) but their care model conflicted with the Blanchet’s and the relationship eventually dissolved. Currently, the only transitional element in place allows occupants, actively working or seeking employment, to live in the building for up to 6 months while they search for permanent housing. The new building is LEED Platinum. It was designed to be a 50 -dining hall -wood benches define cueing boundary and seperates dining area

Architectural Design -dining Hall -glazed walls allow natural light to enter -Workers take a break between shifts

III.Architectural Design


*Joshua Lupkin

The new building is LEED Platinum. It was designed to be a 50 year building that fit into the contexts of its surroundings, but realistically the structure will survive for 100 years. Similar to other buildings in the area, its sturdy concrete and brick facade are intended to last for over a century. Additionally sustainable construction elements are included in the construction of the enclosure to prevent the transfer of moisture and ensures its longevity. Air tests have proven that the building skin is operating well and is not leaking. This not only helps to improve the quality of life for the occupants it also increases the energy performance of the building. Taking advantage of Portland’s lengthy rain season water is collected from the building’s roof and stored into a 60 gallon tank in the basement’s boiler room. The water is then sent through a filter system and used for flushing toilets. The remaining space, in the 7,000 sq ft. basement, includes the mechanical room and the food storage area. When a seismic event occurs Josh suspects that the Blanchet House’s structural durability and current operating function will play an essential role as a place for the surrounding community to gather. The substance free environment the Blanchet House offers is essentially ran by the occupants. Only men are allowed to live there and are required to work the kitchen while they live in the house. Sometimes people have lapses and have to move out, but typically there is a 6 month turnaround that proves to be beneficial for the workers. It is a requirement that before people move in they must serve three shifts in the kitchen. This way the existing crew and the new tenant can determine if this will be a good fit for them. After a few weeks the occupants have usually moved out of the house and found work somewhere else. Overall the system works relatively smoothly and Blanchet House plans on continuing operations for another 50 plus years.

-shared living room -Blanchet House

-living quarters -sturdy furniture and clean walls help with easy maintenance -worker unloads laundry

Works Cited

Works Cited Alexander, Christopher; Hansjoachim Neis; Maggie Moore. The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth. New York : Oxford University Press, ©2012. -Here Christopher Alexander introduces a way of building that includes the best current practices, enriched by a range of new processes that support the houses, communities, and health of all who inhabit the Earth. Murray, Peter; Mary Anne Stevens and David Cadman. Living Bridges: The Inhabited Bridge Past, Present and Future. London : Royal Academy of Arts ; New York : Prestel, ©1996 -Throughout Europe whole communities were supported by habitable bridges shops and houses on either side of a narrow thoroughfare. The history and construction of major inhabited bridges in Europe, the Middle East and America are discussed in detail. Latham, Mark. The Death of London’s ‘Living Bridge’: Financial Crisis, Property Crash and the Modernization of London Bridge in the Mid-eighteenth Century . London journal 2010 July, v.35, n.2, p.164-184 -The removal of the houses from London Bridge in the mideighteenth century was a highly symbolic moment in the capital’s progress towards modernity. This article examines the causes behind this transformation of one of London’s most iconic structures, and demonstrates that it was a series of crises in the finances of the Corporation of London that eventually drove the City of London to administer the last rites to its ‘living bridge’. Chetwood, Laurie. Living Bridge. v.26, n.8, p.66

Architecture & Design 2009 Aug.,

-The London Bridge is 800 years old. The Royal Institute of British Architects and the wonderfully named Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects ran an architectural competition to design a new inhabited bridge. Egbert, Virginia Wylie. On the Bridges of Mediaeval Paris; a record of early fourteenth-century life. [Princeton] N.J., Princeton University Press [1974] -A documentation of medieval, renaissance and Paris

modern bridges in

“Gulliver.” Center for Service Design Research. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <>. -In 1995, Köln International School of Design conducted a design project in the areas of service design and design management and developed a concept for Gulliver: a survival station for the homeless. In 2001, this unique social facility opened its doors in Cologne. Gulliver offers a meeting point for homeless men and women

Works Cited

Works Cited “GULLIVER - Überlebensstation Für Obdachlose.” KALZ. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <>. -An in depth look at the Gulliver Center for Service Design Research and their findings before, during and after the projects inception “Ritemail.” Top 7 Amazing Inhabited Bridges. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <>. - A list and description of the top seven inhabited bridges “Bridges Are for People: Inhabited Bridges Could Help Pay For Infrastructure.” TreeHugger. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <>. -A brief description of Maxim Nasab’s thesis arguing that inhabited bridges are more interesting for pedestrians and help to create valuable waterfront property.

Living Bridges: A Guide to Inhabited Bridges  
Living Bridges: A Guide to Inhabited Bridges