BP Pedestrian Bridge

BP Pedestrian Bridge

Infobox Bridge
bridge_name = BP Pedestrian Bridge

caption = The BP Bridge viewed from The Buckingham in Lakeshore East (2008-06-12)
official_name =
carries = Pedestrians
crosses = Columbus Drive
locale = city-state|Chicago|Illinois (Cook County)
United States
maint =
id =
designer = Frank Gehry
design = girder bridge
material = stainless steel, reinforced concrete, and hardwood
spans =
pierswater =
mainspan =
length = convert|935|ft|m|1
width = convert|20|ft|m|1
height =
load = 100 PSF
clearance =
below = convert|14|ft|6|in|m|1
traffic =
begin =
complete = May 22, 2004
open = July 16, 2004
closed =
toll =
map_cue =

map_text =
map_width =
coordinates = coord|41|52|58.23|N|87|37|14.26|W|region:US_type:landmark_scale:1000|display=inline
lat =
long =

The BP Pedestrian Bridge, or simply BP Bridge, is an American girder bridge in the Loop community area of city-state|Chicago|Illinois. It spans Columbus Drive to connect Daley Bicentennial Plaza with Millennium Park. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, it opened, along with the rest of Millennium Park, on July 16, 2004.cite web|url=http://www.greenroofs.org/washington/index.php?page=millenium|title=Category: Intensive Industrial/Commercial|accessdate=2008-05-30|publisher=Green Roofs for Healthy Cities|date=2005] Gehry had been courted extensively by the city to design the bridge and the neighboring Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and eventually agreed to do so after the Pritzker family funded the Pavilion.

Named for British Petroleum, who donated $5 million to the Park's construction, the bridge is the first Gehry-designed bridge to have been realized.cite web|url=http://www.glasssteelandstone.com/BuildingDetail/641.php|title=BP Pedestrian Bridge|accessdate=2008-05-31|publisher=Artefaqs Corporation|work=Glass, Steel and Stone] cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0ED5C2B4DC1C36DF&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title= Band shell cost heads skyward - Millennium Park's new concert venue may top $40 million|accessdate=2008-06-01|date=2001-07-02|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Cohen, Laurie] Because of its curving form, the bridge is described as snakelike. Designed to bear a heavy load without structural problems caused by its own weight, the bridge has won awards for its use of sheet metal and is known for its aesthetics, especially a biomorphic aesthetic. Additionally, the bridge is a sound barrier as well as a connecting link between Millennium Park and eastward destinations, such as the nearby lakefront, parts of Grant Park and a parking garage. [cite web|url=http://search.ft.com/ftArticle?queryText=%22Cloud%20Gate%22%20Chicago&y=0&aje=true&x=0&id=040720000796&ct=0|title=How a steel bean gave Chicago fresh pride|accessdate=2008-07-31|date=2004-07-20|publisher=The Financial Times Ltd|work=The Financial Times|author=Daniel, Caroline]

The bridge uses the concealed box girder design with a concrete base. The footbridge is designed without handrails. The bridge makes extensive sculptural use of stainless steel plates, which express abstraction in the traditional Gehry style. The biomorphic allusions also are stylistic footprints of Gehry.


Preliminary plans

In February 1999, the city announced it was negotiating with Frank Gehry to design a proscenium arch and orchestra enclosure for a band shell as well as a pedestrian bridge crossing Columbus Drive. The city also announced that it was seeking donors to cover his work, which would eventually become Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Pedestrian Bridge.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:ADHB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0ED0293A7773EBF9&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=The City|accessdate=2008-07-24|date=1999-02-18|publisher=Newsbank|work=Daily Herald] At the time, the "Chicago Tribune" dubbed Gehry "the hottest architect in the universe" in reference to the acclaim for his Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. [cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0EB42A2E27BC3A9F&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=City Has Designs On Ace Architect For Its Band Shell|accessdate=2008-07-24|date=1999-02-17|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Warren, Ellen and Teresa Wiltz] Millennium Park project manager Edward Uhlir said "Frank is just the cutting edge of the next century of architecture," and he noted that no other architect was being sought.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0EB42A2E27BC3A9F&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Building for future - Modern architect sought for park|accessdate=2008-07-24|date=1999-02-18|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=Bey, Lee] Gehry was approached several times by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill architect Adrian Smith on behalf of the city.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0EB42A4E848E3AFC&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=A World-Class Designer Turns His Eye To Architecture's First City|accessdate=2008-07-24|date=1999-04-18|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Kamin, Blair] In April 1999, the city announced that the Pritzker family had donated $15 million to fund Gehry's bandshell and an additional nine donors committed a total of $10 million. [cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0EB42A53177A0D06&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Millennium Park Gets Millions|accessdate=2008-07-24|date=1999-04-27|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune] [cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0EB4240F126851DB&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Room for Grant Park to grow|accessdate=2008-07-24|date=1999-04-28|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=Spielman, Fran] The day of this announcement, Gehry agreed to the design request.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0EB4240F06C75DE5&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Architect on board to help build bridge to 21st century |accessdate=2008-07-24|date=1999-04-28|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=De LaFuente, Della]

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header_background =
footer = Gehry had hoped to avoid the visible center column.
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width1 = 90
caption1 = Facing The Heritage, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Smurfit-Stone Building and One Prudential Plaza

width2 = 159
caption2 = Overpass facing Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower, The Buckingham, Outer Drive East before 340 on the Park existed
In November, when he unveiled his plans for the bridge and bandshell, Gehry admitted the bridge's design was underdeveloped because funding for it was not committed. Therefore, the bridge did not include an extensive berm, which would serve as a raised separating barrier, at that time. [cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0EF7FF2E848D60A9&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Architect's Band Shell Design Filled With Heavy-Metal Twists|accessdate=2008-07-24|date=1999-11-04|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Kamin, Blair] The need to fund a bridge to span the eight-lane Columbus Drive was evident, but some planning for the park was delayed in anticipation of details on the redesign of Soldier Field. [cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0EF7FF3E58EE9282&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Timing Crucial Plotting Grant Park's Future|accessdate=2008-07-24|date=1999-11-23|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Kamin, Blair] In January 2000, the city announced plans to expand the park to include features that have become "Cloud Gate", "Crown Fountain", The McDonalds Cycle Center, and BP Pedestrian Bridge. [cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0EB4862A2DB2FB15&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=City Tweaks Millennium Park Design|accessdate=2008-07-24|date=2000-01-07|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Song, Lisa] Later that month, Gehry unveiled his first design, which depicted a winding bridge. [cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0EB48637C156407F&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Defiant Architect Back With Revised Grant Park Bridge Design|accessdate=2008-07-24|date=2000-01-28|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Donato, Marla]

Gehry had already proposed a design for the neighboring Jay Pritzker Pavilion in 1999 when he proposed his earliest designs for this bridge. The original proposal in early 2000, which was expected to be executed in 2002, included a bridge that was a mere convert|170|ft|m|1 long and convert|20|ft|m|1 wide.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0EB4865AF2F8B197&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Lakefront Park Plans To Include Visitors' Bridge|accessdate=2008-06-01|date=2000-03-20|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Kamin, Blair] That design was not approved, and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's disapproval of Gehry's subsequent design of an convert|800|-|900|ft|m|sing=on bridge caused Gehry to come up with ten more designs.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0EB48698C4D2ADE1&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Gehry's Design: A Bridge Too Far Out?|accessdate=2008-06-01|date=2000-06-23|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Kamin, Blair] The first plan was for a Z-shaped bridge that would have run northwest–southeast with western ramps, leading south, and eastern ramps, leading north. It would have required elevators to conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act and would have ended in the empty north section of Daley Bicentennial Plaza. Gehry's only previous bridge designs (Pferdeturm USRTRA Bridge in city-state|Hanover|Germany and Financial Times Millennium Bridge in city-state|London|United Kingdom) in the mid-1990s were never built.Gilfoyle, p. 239-41.]

Gehry had hoped to design the bridge so that it could be constructed without a support column in the center of Columbus Drive. However, "Chicago Tribune" architecture critic Blair Kamin notes that if he had done so the bridge might not have been able to be as sleek as it is. Building the bridge without the column would have required load-bearing beams supported only on one side, known as cantilevers, from opposing structural positions on opposite sides of the street; this would have been expensive and labor-intensive, because it would have required excavating large portions of the parking garages on both sides of the street. Moreover, on the Daley Bicentennial Plaza side, the optimal location for the supporting cantilever would have been at the precise location of the Monroe Street Garage. [Gilfoyle, p. 200.]

Final design

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footer = View of Historic Michigan Boulevard District and southeastern portion of Millennium Park from overpass (left) and ramp (right)
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width1 = 150
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The finished bridge, whose design was first revealed in an exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center on June 10, 2000, is convert|935|ft|m|1 long and convert|20|ft|m|1 wide with a convert|14|ft|6|in|m|2|adj=on Columbus Drive clearance.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=102FB05ADED6F09F&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title= Our Town's newest bridge|accessdate=2008-06-01|date=2004-05-24|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=Frey, Mary Cameron] The clearance slightly exceeds the convert|4.3|m|ft|adj=on standard set by the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration for urban area interstate bridge clearances and allows for additional future layers of pavement below. [cite web|url=http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/081597.htm|title=Bridge Technology|accessdate=2008-10-02|date=2006-07-07|publisher=United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration - Infrastructure] It had a May 22, 2004 ribbon-cutting ceremony before its official opening, along with the rest of Millennium Park, on July 16, 2004.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=102BCA56A3A39038&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title= Curvy bridge bends all the rules - With its whimsical, wavy design, the new Millennium Park bridge has Chicagoans likening it to a skateboard, a snake--even a spaceship|accessdate=2008-05-30|date=2004-05-22|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Janega, James] It remained unnamed at the ribbon-cutting, but before the July park opening, British Petroleum had paid $5 million for the bridge sponsorship and naming rights. [cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=103D9717FB5E140D&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Sponsors put money where their names are|accessdate=2008-07-28|date=2004-07-15|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Smith, Sid] Over ten times longer than the span of street it crosses,cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9901E2D61F3BF93BA25754C0A9629C8B63|title= Art/Architecture; Big Shoulders, Big Donors, Big Art|accessdate=2008-06-01|date=2004-07-18|author=Bernstein, Fred A.|publisher=The New York Times Company|work=The New York Times] the bridge begins in Millennium Park between the trellis system over the Jay Pritzker Pavilion's great lawn and the Lurie Garden. It winds its way northward along the eastern edge of Millennium Park before crossing Columbus Drive above parking garage entrances and winding a path to Daley Bicentennial Plaza. The bridge is designed with a continuous slope rather than landings and switchback ramps, and its modest 5% slope provides easy access for the physically challenged. [cite web|url=http://millenniumpark.org/artandarchitecture/bp_bridge.html|title=Art & Architecture: BP Bridge|accessdate=2008-05-31|publisher=City of Chicago] The gently sloped ramp, which eliminates the need for lifts or any of the other common types of ramps (L-shaped, switchback, U-shaped, straight), [cite web|url=http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/renoho/refash/refash_025.cfm|title=Accessible Housing by Design — Ramps|accessdate=2008-08-05|publisher=Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation|date=August 2008] helped the park earn the 2005 Barrier-Free America Award for its exemplary barrier-free design. [cite web|url=http://pva.convio.net/site/DocServer/PN_BFA_2005_Article.pdf?docID=1921|title=Chicago's New Class Act|accessdate=2008-05-31|year=2005|month=July|publisher=Paralyzed Veterans of America|work=PN|author=Deyer, Joshua] The bridge materials include 9,800 stainless steel shingle plates, 2,000 rot-resistant Brazilian hardwood boards and 115,000 stainless steel screws.Gilfoyle, p. 243.]

The bridge is both a connector and a viewing platform for the park.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=103E954260CCFD7C&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title= BP Bridge- **** - Crossing Columbus Drive - Frank Gehry, Los Angeles|accessdate=2008-06-01|date=2004-07-18|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Kamin, Blair] It was designed to link the Historic Michigan Boulevard District and the entire Loop to the west with the Lake Michigan lakefront to the east. It was also designed to be a berm sound barrier blocking noise on the eight-lane Columbus Drive from the Park's outdoor bandshell (Jay Pritzker Pavilion), by deflecting traffic sounds upward.

The bridge, which uses steel girders, reinforced concrete deck slabs and abutments, and a stainless steel veneer, cost between $12.1 and $14.5 million.cite web|url=http://www.asm-expertise.com/whatspossible/index.cfm?fuseaction=view_article&article_id=2473|title=Form And Function Come Together To Create A Pedestrian Bridge For Chicago: Millennium Park BP Pedestrian Bridge, Chicago, Ill.|accessdate=2008-05-31|publisher=SMILMCF|work=Architectural Metal Expertise] cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=103F314E0D3567B3&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title= Sun-Times Insight|accessdate=2008-06-01|date=2004-07-15|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=Herrmann, Andrew] It contains large sculptural plates of curvilinear stainless steel instead of more standard flat plates. [cite web|url=http://www.greenroofs.org/washington/index.php?page=millenium|title=Category: Intensive Industrial/Commercial|accessdate=2008-05-31|date=2008|publisher=Green Roofs for Healthy Cities] The curvilinear design has the effect of giving the bridge a flowing, natural look, instead of the linear, rigid form of standard bridges. Although its steel girders rest on concrete pylons and most of the bridge is solid concrete, the bridge uses a hollow box girder design to minimize weight, as the ground that supports the bridge covers underground parking garages.Gilfoyle, p. 196-201.] The concrete base and box girder are flanked by a hollow stainless steel skeleton. Despite its hollow structure, and the fact that it is designed as a concealed beam bridge type of footbridge, it is built to highway standards and can support a full capacity load of pedestrians. The bridge is designed without standard handrails and uses waist-high parapets as guard rails instead. The city not only mandates that the bridge be swept and washed daily, but also that the parapets be wiped free of fingerprints.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=10EAA2ED7B4D80D8&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title= New amenities for Millennium Park?: Company proposes baby strollers, Disney training for workers|accessdate=2008-06-01|date=2005-12-16|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=Spielman, Fran]


The bridge was built using 22-gauge stainless steel #316 with an angel hair finish and a flat interlocking panel process. Stainless steel type 316 is known for its excellent welding characteristics, as well as for its resistance to pitting. [cite web|url=http://www.azom.com/details.asp?ArticleID=863|title=Stainless Steel - Grade 316 – Properties, Fabrication and Applications|accessdate=2008-06-12|publisher=AZoM|work=Azo Materials] The sheet metal work totalled 5,900 field hours over a six-month period. Fabricating the 10,400 trapezoidal stainless steel panels took 1,000 shop hours and was done in 17 different shops.

The bridge consists of convex, concave and radius areas stretching the total length of both sides of the bridge, which is convert|1728|ft|m|1. Because a specific horizontal line had to be maintained throughout the bridge, CMF (the sheet metal contractor) made 4,400 field-fabricated custom panels. CMF used convert|57000|sqft|m2 of materials, and built special heated enclosures so that work could continue throughout the winter. They also designed, fabricated and installed a custom #4 brushed stainless steel parapets serving in the place of handrails on the bridge. CMF earned the 2005 Tom Guilfoy Memorial Architectural Sheet Metal Award, by California SMACNA for the project.

The landscaping surrounding the bridge was redesigned by landscape architect Terry Guen. Honey locusts, ash and maple trees were removed and replaced with three varieties of magnolia and more than two dozen ornamental and canopy trees along the eastern foot of the bridge. Other preliminary work for the bridge included setting reinforcing rods for the bridge in the concrete roof deck of the parking garage located under the park.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0FB52861AEBE29A0&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Millennium Park getting a touch of the South|accessdate=2008-05-31|date=2003-05-26|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=Moffett, Nancy] Following construction and during the weekend of the inaugural ribbon-cutting, Gehry was awarded an honorary degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=102DDD1FEC47B09D&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title= Snakelike walkway by Gehry dedicated at Millennium Park|accessdate=2008-06-01|date=2005-05-23|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=Nance, Kevin]


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width1 = 108
caption1 = Facing Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower and 340 on the Park

width2 = 122
caption2 = Facing The Buckingham, Outer Drive East and Harbor Point
Most of the controversies surrounding the bridge have related to its closure. The bridge has had weather-related seasonal closure controversy issues in the winter and it has had event-related closure issues in the summer.

After the park opened, some of the bridge's foibles became apparent. The bridge has had to be closed during the winter because freezing conditions make it unsafe.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=10E8A9F099120B88&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title= Museum seeks $63 mil. more: Art Institute needs donations to build addition, bridge|accessdate=2008-06-01|date=2005-12-16|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=Nance, Kevin] Since the bridge is over an expressway-like trench of Columbus Drive, shovelling the snow onto passing cars is not an option and the Brazilian hardwood would be damaged by rock salt.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=1077A5489D1369E3&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title= Park spares the salt and closes the bridge |accessdate=2008-06-01 |date=2005-01-07|publisher=Newsbank |work=Chicago Tribune|author=Mihalopoulos, Dan and Hal Dardick]

The summer closure controversies have been part of larger park concerns. In both 2005 and 2006, almost the entire Millennium Park was closed for a day for corporate events. This was controversial for both commuters who walk through the park and for tourists who were lured by the attractions of the public park. On September 8, 2005, Toyota Motor Sales USA paid $800,000 to rent all venues in the park except Wrigley Square, Lurie Garden, McDonald's Cycle Center and "Crown Fountain" from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=10C8591BB16FF1E0&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=NO WALK IN THE PARK - Toyota VIPs receive Millennium Park 's red-carpet treatment; everyone else told to just keep on going |accessdate=2008-07-26|date=2005-09-09|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Ahmed-Ullah, Noreen S.] cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=109EF4F4D7BED508&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=THIS SEPT. 8, NO BEAN FOR YOU - Unless you're a Toyota dealer. In that case, feel free to frolic because the carmaker paid $800,000 to own the park for the day |accessdate=2008-07-26|date=2005-05-06|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Dardick, Hal] On August 7, 2006, Allstate paid $700,000 to rent most of the park for a day. For this price, Allstate acquired the visitation rights to a different set of features (Pritzker Pavilion, BP Bridge, Lurie Garden and the Chase Promenades) and only had exclusive access to "Cloud Gate" after 4 p.m. [cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=11167CB33A2C26A0&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Allstate pays $200,000 to book Millennium Park for one day |accessdate=2008-07-26|date=2006-05-04|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=Herrmann, Andrew]

Another closure related controversy occurred in 2005. The initial plan was that the lawn seating at nearby Jay Pritzker Pavilion would be free for all events.cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=10CEE1EF3961DD78&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Howls over charge for Millennium Park concert // Watchdog contends lawn seats supposed to be free|accessdate=2008-05-31|date=2005-09-01|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=Herrmann, Andrew] However, parking revenue fell short of estimates during the first year and at the August 31, 2005 concert by Tori Amos the city charged $10 for lawn seating.cite web|url=http://chicagoist.com/2005/09/01/city_charges_to_publicly_view_its_private_parts.php|title=City Charges To Publicly View Its Private Parts|accessdate=2008-05-31|date=2005-09-01|publisher=Gothamist LLC|work=Chicagoist] On the day of the concert, attendees were outraged at being charged for seating, which prompted officials to close the bridge—which is generally open to the public—until 7:00 A.M. the next day. [cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=116266DCE2E9D5F0&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=A bad deal all around|accessdate=2008-05-31|date=2005-09-09|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=Wasielewski, Carl]

Gilfoyle notes that a controversy surrounds the "tasteless" corporate naming of several of the Park's features, including the bridge, which was named after an oil company. [Gilfoyle, p. 345.] It has been well-documented that naming rights were sold for high fees, [cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9806EED71E3BF930A25754C0A9629C8B63|title=LETTER FROM CHICAGO; A Prized Project, a Mayor and Persistent Criticism |accessdate=2008-08-04|date=2004-07-13|author=Kinzer, Stephen|publisher=The New York Times Company|work=The New York Times] and Gilfoyle was not alone in his chastisement of the park officials for selling naming rights to the highest bidder. Public interest groups have crusaded against commercialization of Chicago parks. [cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=105792A0411CD579&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Corporate logos in parks? Daley thinks it's 'fantastic' // Says companies deserve it if they foot the bill|accessdate=2008-08-04|date=2004-09-02|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Sun-Times|author=Spielman, Fran] However, many of the donors have a long history of local philanthropy and the funds were essential to providing necessary financing for several features of the park. [cite web|url=http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CTRB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=103D9717FB5E140D&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2|title=Sponsors put money where their names are |accessdate=2008-08-04|date=2004-07-15|publisher=Newsbank|work=Chicago Tribune|author=Smith, Sid]


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

multiple image
align = left
direction = horizontal
header = BP Pedestrian Bridge from different perspectives
header_align = center
header_background =
footer =
footer_align = left/right/center
footer_background =
width =

width1 = 100
caption1 = Bridge on left from 340 on the Park

width2 = 112
caption2 = Bridge on left from Aon Center

width3 = 113
caption3 =Bridge on right from Sears Tower (before Legacy Tower)
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. According to Timothy 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.

Gehry has a long history (going back to the 1960s and first appearing in his architectural designs in the 1980s) of artistic use of scaled animals such as fish and snakes. [cite web|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=20bkru0gzCMC&pg=PA250&dq=gehry+snake+lamp&lr=&client=firefox-a&sig=ACfU3U2q--QOqBXsL2g3w3AAvSVWPjvWFg#PPA250,M1|title=The new paradigm in architecture: the language of post-modernism|author=Jencks, Charles|publisher=Yale University Press/Google Books] [cite web|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=sTbb-VZuff0C&pg=PA1961&dq=gehry+snake+sculpture&lr=&client=firefox-a&sig=ACfU3U0tIzUhtD5p4cuicEE1GuI8oIhehQ#PPA1961,M1|title=Blobitecture: Waveform Architecture and Digital Design|author=Waters, John Kevin |publisher=Rockport Publishers/Google Books] [cite web|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=Bx9zJTFUmdUC&pg=PA131&dq=gehry+snake+sculpture&lr=&client=firefox-a&sig=ACfU3U0OoyIXDgdYk8XVyIaVsSh3U6b2Vg|title=Biomorphic Architecture: Menschen- und Tiergestalten in der Architektur|author=Feuerstein, Günther |publisher=Edition Axel Menges/Google Books] Many references to the bridge describe it as snakelike for its winding path. Some even refer to the stainless steel plates as scales with discussion of reptilian forms. 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.Gilfoyle, pp. 229-231.] Kamin admires the multidimensional geometric complexity of its curvatures. The bridge was redesigned so that the west ramp coincided with the Lurie Garden seam. [Gilfoyle, p. 303.] [Gilfoyle, p. 308.] The bridge provides views of both the Historic Michigan Boulevard District and Lake Michigan in a way that Kamin says makes it a belvedere. [Gilfoyle, p. 272.]


* Commissioned by – The City of Chicago
* Architect – Gehry Partners, LLPCite web|url=http://millenniumpark.org/artandarchitecture/bp_bridge_factsheet.html|title=Facts and Dimensions of BP Bridge|accessdate=2008-05-31|publisher=City of Chicago]
* Project manager – US Equities
* Construction manager – URS Construction Services
* Structural engineer – Skidmore, Owings and MerrillStructurae|id=s0014834|title=BP Pedestrian Bridge| accessdate = 2008-07-25]
* Mechanical and electrical engineer – McDonough Associates
* Contractor – Walsh Construction
* Subcontractor – Permasteelisa Cladding Technologies Ltd.
* Steel supplier – Littell Steel Company
* Steel construction – Imperial Construction Associates
* Sheet metal contractor – Custom Metal Fabricators Inc.



*cite book|title=Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark |last=Gilfoyle |first= Timothy J. |location= Chicago |publisher=University of Chicago Press |year=2006 |isbn= 978-0226293493

External links

* [http://www.millenniumpark.org/parkevents/parkmap.pdf Millennium Park map]
* [http://egov.cityofchicago.org/webportal/COCWebPortal/COC_ATTACH/Community_Areas_LOOP.pdf City of Chicago Loop Community Map]
*Commonscat-inline|BP Bridge|BP Pedestrian Bridgeway

Geographic Location
Center = BP Pedestrian Bridge
North = Columbus Drive
Northeast = Grant Park
East = Grant Park
Southeast = Grant Park
South = Columbus Drive
Southwest = Lurie Garden
Northwest = Jay Pritzker Pavilion
West = Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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