Tulsa Overlook Process Development
At the I-244 Bridge project over the Arkansas River in Tulsa, OK, a pedestrian overlook placed under the second bridge allows for viewing the river and the historic Route 66 11th Street Bridge. We tied the overlook to the pedestrian bridge under the first bridge by using the same railing system and incorporating similar pattern systems. The aesthetic elements serve to humanize the space and make it an engaging and enjoyable experience for the visitor.
The image on the left, above, shows our original idea for the overlook path with striping for pedestrians and bicyclists. The pedestrian striping craves a curving path through the space evoking the river below. Further in the design process we switched the traditional yellow stripes for a large blue painted swath that has an even stronger relationship to the concept of a flowing river, above right.
The path is illuminated by fixtures, that relate to the lighting used elsewhere in the river walk paths, at a regular spacing. We clad these fixtures with perforated shells that tie back to the treatment of the streetlights on the freeway above. The original scheme, above left, had each shell in a different color. Simplifying the colors to all white for the light fixtures, above right, unifies all the light fixtures and strengthens them as aesthetic elements.
The balcony at the end of the overlook is a pause point for reflection and to view the historic Route 66 11th Street Bridge. The large space is defined by a curving edge looking, out over the river. It is treated conceptually as an eddy with the pedestrian path spiraling to fill the space. This idea became even stronger when we made the path an undulating blue stripe.
Defining the end of the path is a termination screen that serves to pull the visitor into the space and also block off the view into the almost infinite seeming columns that make up the understory of the rest of the bridge. The final design pattern work, above right, stays close to the original concept, above left. This is an example of how, after trying out many variations, the first is the most suitable.
The curving edge of the balcony provides an opportunity for site specific art pieces, shown above as medallions on the railings. These will hold collages made from local and historic images that relate to the character of Tulsa. Having something to do and see will activate the space and make return visits more interesting as one discovers more details in the pieces.
Above the path, on the piers, are large arches painted in blue that serve to define the space. They scale the large infrastructure elements and serve as a canvas for poetic text elements. These graphic text elements were considered and designed visually to fit into the space and relate to the other aesthetic elements.