Power & Light Bridge

The Kansas City Power & Light Bridge

This project is not a bridge for people or cars, but for the primary electricity conduits that feed downtown Kansas City. Designed by the architects at Helix , utilitarian truss structure is cladded with a perforated black zinc skin which fills with pulsing lights during the evening. The 165 foot-long utility structure bridges the gap over the interstate highway, connecting the Crossroads Art District with the Power & Light Entertainment District, two of Kansas City’s hubs for arts & entertainment.

Photo of The Power & Light Utility Bridge

The Power & Light Utility Bridge.
Photo © Eric Linebarger.

Photo of The Power & Light Utility Bridge

The Power & Light Utility Bridge.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of The Power & Light Utility Bridge

The Power & Light Utility Bridge.
Photo © Eric Linebarger.

Photo of The Power & Light Utility BridgePhoto of The Power & Light Utility Bridge

 

The Power & Light Utility Bridge.
Photo © Eric Linebarger.

Photo of The Power & Light Utility Bridge

The Power & Light Utility Bridge.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of The Power & Light Utility Bridge

The Power & Light Utility Bridge.
Photo © Eric Linebarger.

Photo of The Power & Light Utility Bridge

The Power & Light Utility Bridge.
Photo © Eric Linebarger.

Photo of The Power & Light Utility Bridge

The Power & Light Utility Bridge.
Photo © Eric Linebarger.

Photo of The Power & Light Utility Bridge

The Power & Light Utility Bridge.
Photo © Eric Linebarger.

Photo of The Power & Light Utility Bridge

The Power & Light Utility Bridge.
Photo © Eric Linebarger.

Photo of The Power & Light Utility Bridge

The Power & Light Utility Bridge.

Perforation types and patterns were generated from an iterative collaboration with the architect. The architect's images and aesthetics were maintained during the process by using a the ZIRA™ Visualizer, a series of Zahner programmed algorithms which translated the architect's drawings into a series of bumps and perforations, the physical pixels which compose the bridge's surface imagery.

The zinc cladding's bumped and perforated surface interplays with light as a metaphor for the bridge’s functional purpose, transporting electricity. The architects at Helix were inspired by the physics of three-phase electrical power whose sine waves are represented by the emitting light through perforations on the cladding. The form of the bridge itself becomes a third sine wave, giving the skin undulations and shadows. The cladding was bumped and punched with small bumps of varying depths, representing a field of electrons through which electricity moves. This project won the 2009 AIA Craftsmanship Honor Award.

The exterior system uses the Inverted Seam™ technology to smoothly connect the 375 unique panels with minimal visible horizontal and vertical joints between the panels. The scalloped metal shapes add further visual interest to the solution and the overall composition is further enhanced by its illumination at night.

Zahner was responsible to the owner, the architect, and the general contractor to design, fabricate, and install an enclosure based upon the drawings, documents, and patterns provided by the architects.

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