DOT wins Honor Award for Pawtucket River Bridge

DOT wins Honor Award for Pawtucket River Bridge

The new Pawtucket River Bridge has won a top design award. (Valley Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

PAWTUCKET - The Rhode Island Department of Transportation and its architectural firm, Northeast Collaborative Architects, won an Honor Award from the Rhode Island Chapter of The American Institute of Architects for the design of the new landmark Pawtucket River Bridge. The award, one of the organization's most prestigious, came in the urban planning and urban design category.

In an announcement of the award last week, the DOT included comments from judges on the new bridge, which features a one-of-a-kind light display meant to complement the bridge's industrial arched design.

"The world seems to have forgotten architecture's ability to infuse spirit into infrastructure in the public realm. The Pawtucket River Bridge is a powerful reminder of that potential," states a summery. "The jury recognized two major successes here: The design achievement itself, with kudos to the architects; and the wisdom of the public client in the act of commissioning an architect."

In light of the two successes, said the judges, they gave the bridge the highest award for Urban Design achievement.

"The bridge exhibits a strong iconography, unique to this particular crossing, with its particular way of engaging the span with its abutments, and harkening back to the original bridge's eagle-motif," states the summary. "The referential nature of these design moves are made contemporary and purposeful through the honest expression of structural form.

"Acting as an extension of the city in the landscape, it is both connector and gateway and will undoubtedly be memorable to Pawtucket's innumerable visitors and residents."

According to the summary, the jury "was impressed with the weave of transportation modes that this structure creates. Walkers, bikers, boaters, and automobile passengers share the experience of this structure in distinct yet integrated ways."