BP Pedestrian Bridge - Aesthetics


View from Aon Center (top, in 2005), Sears Tower (center, in 2007), and Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower (bottom, in 2008).

The bridge is noted for its sculptural characteristics and Kamin describes it as a delightful pleasure that was designed to emphasize its artistic elements while de-emphasizing its concrete and steel support system. The New York Times notes that the artist Anish Kapoor's attempts to hide the seams of Cloud Gate were an interesting contrast to Gehry's architectural efforts. Gehry took pride in making the BP Pedestrian Bridge flaunt its seams.

Beginning with Gehry's earliest bridge designs, the bridge was expected to complement the neighboring Pritzker Pavilion. Some have suggested that the bridge and the pavilion are mere extensions of Gehry's work in other cities. For example, according to Gilfoyle, both structures embody Gehry's established asymmetrical style, evoking fluid, continuous motion and sculptural abstraction. They also feature metallic facades and aesthetic curves, but they are said to be more refined, reduced and dynamic than much of his other work.

Since the 1960s, Gehry has made artistic use of scaled animals such as fish and snakes, which first appeared in his architectural designs in the 1980s. Many references to the bridge describe it as snakelike for its winding path, and some even refer to the stainless steel plates as scales with discussion of reptilian forms. Kamin calls it "a bridge that resembles a giant silver snake, complete with a scaly skin", while Gehry said he thought the bridge looked like a river, but added he might be the only one who thought that.

The way the bridge flows in a continuum of unexpected directions is a break from Gehry's other work and other more traditional urban and architectural forms nearby. Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Kamin gave the bridge four stars (out of a possible four) in his review and admires how "computers have given Gehry unparalleled formal freedom" to design "the complexity of its geometry" and multidimensional curvatures. The bridge provides views of both the Historic Michigan Boulevard District and Lake Michigan in a way that Kamin says makes it a belvedere. Kamin also recommends anyone having a bad day to stroll across the bridge, adding, "You won't get where you're going quickly, but you'll feel a whole lot better once you're done."

Read more about this topic:  BP Pedestrian Bridge

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Famous quotes containing the word aesthetics:

    What is the use of aesthetics if they can neither teach how to produce beauty nor how to appreciate it in good taste? It exists because it behooves rational human beings to provide reasons for their actions and assessments. Even if aesthetics are not the mathematics of beauty, they are the proof of the calculation.
    Franz Grillparzer (1791–1872)

    Nothing is beautiful, except man alone: all aesthetics rests upon this naïveté, which is its first truth. Let us immediately add the second: nothing is ugly except the degenerating man—and with this the realm of aesthetic judgment is circumscribed.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

    For aesthetics is the mother of ethics.... Were we to choose our leaders on the basis of their reading experience and not their political programs, there would be much less grief on earth. I believe—not empirically, alas, but only theoretically—that for someone who has read a lot of Dickens to shoot his like in the name of an idea is harder than for someone who has read no Dickens.
    Joseph Brodsky (b. 1940)