A footbridge over the Savannah River, not as crazy as it sounds

In my City Talk column today, I talk a bit about the proposal to use public bonds (about $50 million worth, probably) to back the building of a new hotel on Hutchinson Island that would serve as a convention headquarters.

I make a brief reference to a unique idea that came my way in 2008: a pedestrian bridge that would swing open to allow ships to pass.

Now, I don’t really expect this idea to take off, but I think it’s sort of brilliant. If we wanted to make a major public investment in Hutchinson Island, I can’t think of anything better.

I got the idea from SCAD Master of Architecture student Andreas Mayer, a Fulbright scholar from Germany who enlisted me as a topic consultant for his thesis. That’s one of the graphics from his thesis on the right — it shows pedestrians walking across the Savannah River toward Hutchinson.

Andreas imagined the bridge leaving from the Bay Street level, which seemed to me an especially inspired choice to increase the connectivity between Hutchinson and the Historic District.

When I expressed some dubiousness about the pedestrian bridge idea — a necessary but ultimately small piece of his thesis project for three interconnected mixed use buildings on Hutchinson — Andreas immediately pointed me to the Puenta de la Mujer (Bridge of the Mother, I guess) in Buenos Aires, designed by Santiago Calatrava.

Mayer’s designs can be seen on SCAD Professor Arpad Ronaszegi’s blog. Scroll about halfway down the page, though you might want to pause to look at a variety of projects before you get to Mayer’s. Mayer won the Faculty Thesis Award in 2008.

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