The Wave pedestrian bridge is designed to integrate seamlessly with its site. The bridge flows smoothly from the existing access path across a wetland, orienting users directly towards the ocean and the surf spot ‘Lowers’. At the same time it gives users a path to rise above the dunes and the wetlands as well as a location to pause, stand, sit, and enjoy the sunshine and the ocean breeze.
Beyond the automatic safety gate at the railroad crossing the bridge extends out over the wetland, and the deck widens as it divides into two paths. The low path follows the ocean side of the bridge, rising and falling gently within ADA accessibility guidelines. The other path rises up to a higher elevation to provide views to the ocean, the beach, and the surrounding wetland habitat. A continuous sloping surface connects the upper and lower decks creating an informal landscape that can be utilized in a variety of ways. A series of lounge seats generous enough for two people each are cut from the sloped surface – they face south over the wetlands and towards the breaking waves of the surf spot ‘Middles’.
The low rounded, gradual contours of the wooden bridge deck minimize the visual and physical impact of the design on the site. The crisp edges of the deck rise to reveal a remarkable lightness and grace to the steel structure. The sinuous wooden slats spread apart to allow sunlight through to the rushes and water below.
The bridge is a key component to the full restoration of the existing wetland habitat. All informal paths through this area will be closed. In addition to protecting the wetland, the bridge also provides an opportunity for users to pause and enjoy the landscape, bird watch, and learn about the local ecosystems. The design seeks to minimize its footprint on the wetland by only utilizing a single line of columns. Materials are chosen for performance, durability, sustainable forestry, and recyclability.
The structural concept of the bridge is tightly integrated with its flowing geometry. The structure is given strength by a curving steel tube running the length of the bridge to form a spine. Columns support the tube at equal intervals as it divides to follow the two paths. Lateral forces are resolved through the curvature of the spine and deck into the concrete abutments on either end. This configuration allows the footings in the wetlands to be designed with a minimum of impact because they do not need to resist uplift or overturning forces.